The space rock, named asteroid 4660 Nereus, is roughly the size of a football field. It is considered “potentially hazardous” due to its size and proximity to Earth, but scientists say Nereus is not a threat to make a direct strike on Earth.
The asteroid, deemed a Near-Earth Object, is set to pass by the planet on Dec. 11. NASA says Nereus will be around 2.4 million miles from Earth. Nasa considers anything passing within 120 million miles of Earth a Near-Earth Object or NEO.
Last week, the space agency announced it would launch a spacecraft that will, if all goes well, crash into an asteroid so scientists can see if it can knock the space rock off course.
If the test is successful, the space agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART spacecraft, would give the agency a tool to deflect any future asteroid threatening earth.
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