Asteroid the size of Eiffel Tower heading for Earth in December

A large asteroid approximately 330 meters long is heading for Earth in early December, according to NASA’s asteroid tracker. Dubbed 4660 Nereus, or 1982 DB, this vaguely egg-shaped asteroid has a size making it taller than the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Washington Monument. It is set to pass by the planet on December 11 at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers and at a speed of 6.578 km/s. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is around 385,000 kilometers. As such, despite being classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) due to its size and close proximity to Earth, it seems unlikely to pose a threat to the planet. This is fortunate, as an impact from an asteroid of such a size could be devastating. But what makes Nereus stand out among other asteroids is not its size or the possibility of it causing a planetary impact, but rather its potential for exploration. As an Apollo-class asteroid, Nereus’s orbit frequently puts it close to Earth. In fact, its orbital resonance is approximately 2:1. This means that a mission to explore the asteroid is very feasible.

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