Somebody Call Bruce Willis, Asteroid Worth Nearly $5B to Skim Earth’s Orbit

by Matthew Memrick

There’s a $5 billion asteroid heading toward the Earth, and maybe there’s a Bruce Willis movie out there that can save us from it.

Ok, that’s a joke. But maybe one day humans will to more than entertain the idea.

It’s almost like the plot of the highest-grossing movie from 1998 all over again. According to the U.S. Sun, the asteroid named Nereus comes close to the Earth several times each century. 

Scientists say the egg-shaped space rock is 1,083 feet of precious metals, worth $4.7 billion, and “potentially hazardous.”

Remember The Bruce Willis Movie ‘Armaggedon?’

Yeah, that movie’s plot had an asteroid the size of Texas heading toward Earth, but it was not plausible. It sure was fun with Willis, Ben Affleck, and the company starting as oil rig workers who soon trained to become astronauts. The men must travel into space, get on the fast-moving asteroid and blow it up before it reaches Earth.

That’s a pretty good movie plot for a film that made $553.7 million at the box office. Maybe we can credit Aerosmith for their catchy “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” song that summer too.

The largest-known potentially catastrophic asteroid came in at 4.3 miles in diameter.

If we want to compare movies, an upcoming film with Leonard DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence could fit a better mold. The star-studded “Don’t Look Up” comes out on Netflix over the next few weeks. The plot revolves around an asteroid that hurtles toward Earth. Based on the movie trailer, and researchers learn it could have some value. 

Also, the comedy-disaster movie with a $75 million budget has a twist. Basically, it will take a little over six months before the asteroid will hit Earth. 

The pandemic pushed the movie’s release until late 2021 after production wrapped up on Feb. 18, 2020.

Mining Asteroids A Thing?

Researchers say this asteroid has billions worth of nickel, iron, and cobalt. Electric vehicles have used nickel and cobalt for batteries in the past. But are the resources available to do asteroid mining? And could we get to it fast enough to make a difference?

Currently, experts say Nereus is traveling at 14,719 miles per hour. The U.S. Sun said that is slow compared to other recent asteroids. Could Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and SpaceX leader Elon Musk start it up again with Nereus? It’s possible.

But it’s not really that close. Estimates say Nereus will only make it within 2.4 million miles of Earth, and that’s still ten times farther away than the moon. The Earth is about 238,900 miles from the lunar sphere for point of reference.

The closest time the asteroid will get to Earth will be on Sunday. Nereus completes an orbit around the sun every 661 days.