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Scientists have long classified asteroids known to us into several subgroups. One of them is potentially dangerous asteroids, i.e. small objects that orbit the sun and pass or come close to Earth’s orbit (less than 7.5 million How many). In theory, they might pose a risk of a space catastrophe, but of the many thousands of potentially dangerous asteroids known to us, none should be a path collision with the ground.

An asteroid 300 meters high will fly near Earth

The eyes of astronomers now turned to the asteroid Nereus (4660) (named after the Greek god Nereus) belonging to the Apollo group. Discovered in 1982, the asteroid orbits the Sun in a somewhat elliptical orbit, making one orbit in 1.8 Earth years.

At perihelion (at the time of its closest approach), Nereus is 0.95 AU from our star (95% of the distance from the Earth and the Sun). At apogee, these are really two astronomical units. Once in many years, Nereus and Earth come close to each other. This is exactly what we will be dealing with on December 11th.

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According to NASA calculationsThe asteroid should pass Earth at a speed of approximately 24 thousand. km / h at a distance of 3.86 million km. From the point of view of “human”, this is a huge distance, almost 10 times greater than the distance to the Moon (384,400 km). In space and at the speeds prevailing in it, a stone’s throw away. Thus, Nereus will also be the closest to our planet in two decades.

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The diameter of the asteroid is approximately 330 subwayAnd its collision with the Earth will lead to a powerful cosmic catastrophe. It is also likely to be of great value, since it is made largely of different metals (nickel, iron, cobalt). If we could safely extract this raw material and bring it safely to Earth, it would be worth about 4.71 billion here. dollarLive Science listings.

NASA predicts the next close “meetings” of this asteroid with Earth in March 2031 and November 2050. On Valentine’s Day 2060, the space rock will fly much shorter, only 1.2 million kilometers from Earth.