An asteroid the size of the Eiffel Tower will race past the Earth next month, travelling  at 14,714 miles per hour, before being flung back into deep space.

It won’t be very close in terrestrial terms, coming 2.5 million miles from the planet – or about ten times farther than the moon – so will pose no threat to us.

NASA classifies the 4660 Nereus as a potentially hazardous asteroid because of its 1,082ft length and crossing Earth’s orbit.

The spacecraft will approach the sun on December 11th, and then return to its long orbit around it. In 2060, its distance will reach 750,000 miles.

This rock’s size and relative proximity to the Earth have resulted in a few failed robotic mission proposals to investigate it. 

The 'vaguely egg-shaped' 4660 Nereus space rock is classed as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid by NASA. It is 1,082ft long and crosses Earth's orbit

NASA has classified the 4660 Nereus spacerock as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. It measures 1,082ft in length and crosses Earth’s orbit.


The asteroid 4660 Nereus, a near-Earth object with potential dangers to life, crosses both the orbits of Earth and Mars.

Eleanor F Helin discovered the space rock in February 1982. Since then, observations have shown its shape, size, and other surface characteristics. 

It orbits around the sun approximately every 1.82 Earth-years, though it is much closer than Earth.

It measures approximately 1,082ft in length and has a ‘vaguely egg-shaped’ shape.

Numerous probe missions had been suggested to visit the rock but have not yet happened.

It will come to Earth at a very close distance in December 2021. The closest it will get is 2.5 million miles. After that, the return journey in 2060 and then 750,000 miles in 2061.

NASA says neither are dangerous enough to endanger life on Earth. 

Nereus is an Apollo class asteroid. The orbit puts it within a very regular proximity to Earth.

This places it within the smaller group of space rocks suitable for exploration. It can be reached by a four-year mission, collecting samples and returning to Earth.

There have been a number of mission plans, however none have yet to be executed.

The private Near Earth Asteroid Prospector probe (NEAP), which is a private concept by SpaceDev, was created to locate an asteroid near Earth and use land science instruments. It can be claimed as its private property. 

The mission was canceled due to funding problems. 

Hayabusa was another Japanese sample return mission. It had originally targeted Nereus but due to launch delays, it was redirected at 25143 Itokawa.

NASA’s NEAR Shoemaker robotic spacecraft was also originally set to fly by the asteroid, but the target was changed to 253 Mathilde and 433 Eros.

The near-Earth-object asteroids are also a target for ground-based telescopes. These can make detailed observations of the objects as soon as they reach Earth’s surface, within about a million miles.

Nereus was imaged using radar and visual telescopes. This allowed astronomers discover its egg-shaped shape, which is slightly longer than usual, and create a map showing its terrain. 

Eleanor F Helin discovered the space rock in February 1982. Since then, observations have shown its shape, size, and other surface characteristics. 

Because it crosses the Earth’s orbit and Mars, this asteroid is potentially dangerous. It also has a large enough size to cause massive destruction if it hits.

Astronomers were able to track its orbit and discover seven close approaches to Earth. This is an amount less than three million miles.

In 2060 it will get as close to the Earth as possible before 2100. It will then be 750,000 miles distant from Earth. That’s three times the distance of the moon.

Nereus is an Apollo-class asteroid, with an orbit that puts it in a fairly regular close proximity to Earth, orbiting the sun half as often as the Earth does

Nereus, an Apollo-class Asteroid of Apollo class, has an orbit that places it fairly regularly in close proximity to Earth. It orbits the sun twice as frequently as Earth.

According to engineers, it is easier than landing a spacecraft in space on Nereus, as the spacecraft’s ‘deltav’, which is an estimation of the change in velocity necessary for a mission to space, is less than 5km/s. Moon’s speed is 6.9 km/s.

It orbits the sun approximately half-as often as the Earth but is closer than the Earth. 

This asteroid is likely to be of E-type type, and it’s common to the inner asteroid belt.

Explained: What is the difference between an asteroid and a meteorite?

This article is about asteroid A large amount of rock that was left from the collisions and early solar system. The majority are between Mars, Jupiter and the Main Belt.

visit A rock that has been covered in methane, ice and other compounds. They orbit much farther out than the sun.

Meteor This is what astronomers refer to as a flashing light in the atmosphere that occurs when debris starts burning up.

It is sometimes called a debris. meteoroidThese are the. Many of them are small enough to be vapourized in the atmosphere.

A meteoroid that makes it to Earth is known as a “a” Meteorite

All meteoroids, meteoroids, and meteorites are usually created from comets and asteroids.

One example is that if Earth passes by the tail end of a comet it will cause a lot of debris to burn up and form a meteor Shower.