Experts explain why there is no need to fear the asteroid bigger than the Eiffel Tower that will soon approach Earth

4660 Nereus, an asteroid with a length of 330 meters, which is a little less than the height of the New York skyscraper Empire State Building and more than the height of the Eiffel Tower, will approach the Earth next December 11.

Despite its significant size, it will pose no danger to Earth due to its trajectory. The asteroid it will happen about 3.9 million kilometers from Earth at a speed of 6.58 km / s. This distance beats for more than 10 times that which exists between our planet and the Moon.

However, the space rock was classified as “a potentially dangerous object“Due to its parameters, and this list includes all asteroids that pass within 7.48 million kilometers of the Earth’s orbit and have a diameter greater than about 140 meters.

For his part, the scientific director of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Borís Shústov, assured that asteroid strides, even of dimensions like 4660 Nereus, at such distances, are quite ordinary events that occur, perhaps, once a month. “In the case of an encounter with an asteroid that passes at a distance of 4 million kilometers, the probability of a collision is practically zero and, consequently, the risk is extremely small“, Held.

The scientist explained that in the event of a collision with an asteroid of about 20 meters in diameter, the affected area would equal the size of a medium city, if it were a 300-meter asteroid, it would equal the size of a small European country. and a kilometer-long asteroid would have global consequences. However, he stressed, it is highly unlikely that something like this will happen.

Actually, no asteroid can threaten life on our planet, at least for the next hundred years. According calculations For astronomers, the improbability of any asteroid impact exceeds 99%. But despite this, those who enter the aforementioned classification, must remain monitored to ensure that they do not deviate from their path and do not unwantedly interrupt in the space near Earth.

A frequent visitor

It is worth mentioning that the 4660 Nereus, first discovered in 1982 by the American astronomer Eleanor Francis Helin, not only stands out for its inclusion in the dangerous category, but also because it approaches our planet with relative frequency, approximately every 10 years. This time it is the closest step it has taken in decades. Likewise, its next flight in close proximity to Earth will not occur until February 14, 2060.

Today, NASA prepares several systems designed to protect the Earth from the impact of asteroids. Last month occurred the launch of DAMRT (Double Asteroid Redirection Test). Is about the world’s first planetary defense test mission, intended to slightly change the orbit of the small lunar asteroid Dimorphos.

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