NOTTINGHAM, MD—A massive asteroid will pass by Earth this weekend, and NASA has categorized it as “potentially hazardous.”
The asteroid is expected to skim past Earth without making impact, thankfully, but categorizes any space object that comes within 120 million miles of Earth as a “near-Earth object” and any fast-moving object within 4.65 million miles as “potentially hazardous.”
Its closest approach will occur at 13:51 UTC (10:51 a.m. EST) on Saturday.
Asteroid 4660 Nereus completes an orbit around the sun every 661 days (1.81 Earth-years), according to EarthSky.org. Saturday’s close pass of 10 lunar-distances will be its closest until 2060, when Nereus will pass at just three lunar-distances.
According to reports, the giant space rock is worth an estimated $4.71 billion in precious metals.
Asteroid 4660 Nereus will be too faint to see with the naked eye. Observers will need at least a telescope to spot the behemoth.
The next five asteroid approaches can be viewed online at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Featured photo via Pixabay