Asteroid Worth $5 BILLION Will Fly Over Iowa This Weekend
An over 1,000-foot asteroid will zoom by Earth this weekend and it is worth a LOT OF MONEY. At 9:51 AM on Saturday, December 11, it will be at its closest point to Earth, don’t worry, we’re not in any danger of a collision. At its closest, it will be just under 2.5 million miles from us – around 10x farther than the moon.
It’s called 4660 Nereus and it has been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. It ‘visits’ us a few times each century. In the year 1900, it was MUCH closer, at only 1.9 million miles away. On St. Valentine’s Day 2040, it will be only 620,000 miles away --- that’s only 2.6x farther away than we are to the moon.
Will it be visible this weekend? Yes, if you have a telescope…and the skies are clear. More info about finding it in the sky can be found at earthsky.org.
It was first detected nearly 40 years ago and is rather “slow” compared to other asteroids. It’s only traveling at around 14,700 MPH. At that speed, it would be possible (maybe) for a spacecraft to land on it and possibly mine it for its precious metals. 4660 Nereus is thought to contain billions of dollars worth of nickel, iron, and cobalt. Even so, it would take over 400 days for a spacecraft even enter its orbit. It is ranked among the top 3% of the most accessible near-Earth asteroids
$5 billion seems like a lot, but there are literally hundreds of other asteroids worth over $100 TRILLION zooming around in space.
Is the 1,000 foot long 4660 Nereus considered a LARGE asteroid? Well, the biggest asteroid known to humans is about 329 MILES in diameter. But Nereus is around 90% bigger than most KNOWN asteroids. According to NASA, the currently known asteroid count is 1,113,527.