Asteroid Day

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Asteroid Day
Asteroid Day Logo HQ.png
Asteroid Day logo
Observed byWorldwide
TypeUnited Nations
Begins2015 Jun 30
DateJune 30 (After 2015)

Asteroid Day (also known as International Asteroid Day) is an annual global event which is held on the anniversary of the Tunguska event in 1908, when an asteroid leveled about 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi) forest in Siberia. [1] [2] [3] The United Nations has proclaimed it be observed globally on June 30 every year in its resolution. [4] Asteroid Day aims to raise awareness about asteroids and what can be done to protect the Earth, its families, communities, and future generations from a catastrophic event. For example, 2014 HQ124, discovered April 23, 2014, went past 1,250,000 km from Earth the same year, June 8, only 46 days after discovery, and 2015 TB145, went past at 490,000 km only 21 days after its discovery.



Asteroid Day was co-founded by Stephen Hawking, filmmaker Grigorij Richters, B612 Foundation President, Danica Remy, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and Brian May, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist. [3] [5] Over 200 astronauts, scientists, technologists and artists, including Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Peter Gabriel, Jim Lovell, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, Alexei Leonov, Bill Anders, Kip Thorne, Lord Martin Rees, Chris Hadfield, Rusty Schweickart and Brian Cox co-signed the Asteroid Day Declaration. [2] [6] Asteroid Day was officially launched on December 3, 2014. [7] In February 2014, Brian May began working with Grigorij Richters, director of the film 51 Degrees North , the story of a fictional asteroid impact on London and the human condition resulting from such an event. May composed the music for the film. [8] [9] [10] After screening the film at the 2014 Starmus Festival, Remy, Schweickart, Richters and May co-founded Asteroid Day in October 2014 which they officially announced during a press conference with Lord Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, Ed Lu, Thomas Jones, Ryan Watt and Bill Nye. The event was live streamed from the Science Museum in London, the California Academy of Sciences, New York and São Paulo. [11] On Asteroid Day 2017, minor planet 248750 (discoverer M. Dawson) was officially named Asteroidday by the International Astronomical Union. [12]

Asteroid Day declaration

The workgroup of Asteroid Day created a declaration known as the "100X Declaration", which appeals to all scientists and technologists who support the idea of saving the earth from asteroids. Today, the 100X Declaration has been signed by more than 22,000 private citizens, including those who are not necessarily specialists. [6] [8] [13] [14]

Radar images and a computer model of an asteroid Radar images and computer model of asteroid 1999 JM8.jpg
Radar images and a computer model of an asteroid

Although more than 1,000,000 asteroids have the potential to strike the Earth, we have discovered only about one percent[ citation needed ]. The 100X Declaration calls for increasing the asteroid discovery rate to 100,000 (or 100x) per year within the next 10 years. "The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it became that the human race has been living on borrowed time," remarked Brian May. "Asteroid Day and the 100X Declaration are ways for the public to contribute to an awareness of the Earth’s vulnerability and the realization that asteroids hit Earth all the time." Asteroid Day is a vehicle to garner public support to increase our knowledge of when asteroids might strike and how we can protect ourselves." [8]

The main three goals are:

  1. Employ available technology to detect and track near-earth asteroids that threaten human populations via governments and private and philanthropic organizations.
  2. A rapid hundred-fold acceleration of the discovery and tracking of near-earth asteroids to 100,000 per year within the next ten years.
  3. Global adoption of Asteroid Day, heightening awareness of the asteroid hazard and our efforts to prevent impacts, on June 30 – With the United Nations recognition, this action item has been achieved. [15]

Asteroid Day 2015–2019

According to the website, over 2000 events participated in global activities on June 30 in its first five years across 78 countries. [16] 41 astronauts and cosmonauts participated in activities on the day. [17] The general goal was to raise awareness about the threat posed by asteroid impacts. Institutions such as Institut de Ciències de l'Espai, [18] the Natural History Museum in Vienna, [19] the American Natural History Museum, [20] the California Academy of Sciences, [21] the Science Museum in London, [22] the SETI Institute, [23] the European Space Agency, [24] the UK Space Agency, [25] among others participated in educational activities. The first Asteroid Day was held on June 30, 2015.

United Nations

In February 2016, Romanian astronaut Dumitru Prunariu and the Association of Space Explorers submitted a proposal to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations which was accepted by the subcommittee and in June 2016 the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space included the recommendation in its report. The report of the committee was presented for approval to the United Nations General Assembly's 71st session, which it approved on December 6, 2016. [26]

In its resolution the United Nations declares "30 June International Asteroid Day to observe each year at the international level the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, Russian Federation, on 30 June 1908 and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard." [27]

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Rusty Schweickart

Russell Louis "Rusty" Schweickart is an American aeronautical engineer, and a former NASA astronaut, research scientist, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as well as a former business executive and government executive.

B612 Foundation

The B612 Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation headquartered in Mill Valley, California, United States, dedicated to planetary science and planetary defense against asteroids and other near-Earth object (NEO) impacts. It is led mainly by scientists, former astronauts and engineers from the Institute for Advanced Study, Southwest Research Institute, Stanford University, NASA and the space industry.

Ed Lu American physicist and astronaut

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99942 Apophis is a near-Earth asteroid and potentially hazardous asteroid with a diameter of 370 metres that caused a short period of concern in December 2004 when initial observations briefly indicated a probability up to 2.7% that it would hit Earth on April 13, 2029. Additional observations provided improved predictions that eliminated the possibility of an impact on Earth in 2029. Until 2006, a small probability however remained that during its 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis would pass through a gravitational keyhole of no more than about 800 metres in diameter, which would have set up a future impact exactly seven years later on April 13, 2036. This possibility kept it at Level 1 on the Torino impact hazard scale until August 2006, when the probability that Apophis would pass through the keyhole was determined to be very small and Apophis's rating on the Torino scale was lowered to zero. By 2008, the keyhole had been determined to be less than 1 km wide. During the short time when it had been of greatest concern, Apophis set the record for highest rating ever on the Torino scale, reaching level 4 on December 27, 2004.

Don Quijote is a past space probe concept that has been studied by the European Space Agency, and which would investigate the effects of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid to test whether a spacecraft could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The orbiter was designed to last for seven years. The mission did not proceed beyond initial studies, currently ESA is working on Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission as a part of its NEO space mission studies.

United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space United Nations committee responsible for drafting and maintaining space law treaties

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Andreas Mogensen Danish engineer and ESA astronaut

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The Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is a proposed pair of space probes which will study and demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impactor spacecraft into an asteroid moon. The mission is intended to test and validate impact models of whether a spacecraft could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Grigorij Richters

Grigorij S. Richters is a director, activist, producer and official Forbes Council member. He directed the feature film 51 Degrees North and co-founded the global awareness movement Asteroid Day with astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May. Richters was Kevin Spacey's filmmaker-in-residence at the Old Vic Theatre and activist Stephen Sutton's documentarian before Sutton's death in 2014. He filmed and produced his first documentary at the age of 11. He also walked from Paris to Berlin to advocate for refugee children who are stuck in Greek refugee camps.

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Gerhard Drolshagen is a German physicist at the University of Oldenburg, Germany, specializing in space environment and near-Earth objects (NEO). He has been a staff member at the European Space Agency (ESA), European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, The Netherlands (1987–2016) and is known for his work in space environment, near-Earth objects (NEO) and for the asteroid named after him: the asteroid 332733 Drolshagen.

<span class="nowrap">2018 LF<sub>16</sub></span>

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<span class="nowrap">2006 QV<sub>89</sub></span> Asteroid

2006 QV89 (also written 2006 QV89) is an Apollo near-Earth asteroid roughly 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter. It was discovered on 29 August 2006 when the asteroid was about 0.03 AU (4,500,000 km; 2,800,000 mi) from Earth and had a solar elongation of 150 degrees.

2019 SU3 is a very small near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group, first observed by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System at Haleakala Observatory on 23 September 2019. It was briefly listed on the Risk List of the European Space Agency. With a 18-day observation arc, the nominal orbit passes 0.02 AU (3,000,000 km; 1,900,000 mi) from Earth on 27 September 2084. It was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 12 October 2019.

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2020 VV is an Apollo near-Earth asteroid roughly 12 meters in diameter. On 20 November 2020, the asteroid had a 4.4% chance of impacting Earth on 12 October 2033 11:43 UT. As of mid-December 2020, the asteroid has a modest 61 day observation arc. The nominal Earth approach is on 17 October 2033 at a distance of 0.009 AU, but the line of variations (LOV) is only known with an accuracy of ±22 hours. The line of variations allows the asteroid to come as close as 0.006 AU or pass as far away as 0.01 AU. With a diameter range of 10–22 meters the asteroid could be as large as the Chelyabinsk meteor.


  1. "Trigo-Rodríguez J.M., Palme H., Gritsevich M. (2017) Barcelona Asteroid Day 2015: Revisiting the Threat by Asteroid and Comet Impact. In: Trigo-Rodríguez J., Gritsevich M., Palme H. (eds) Assessment and Mitigation of Asteroid Impact Hazards. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, vol 46. Springer, Cham"
  2. 1 2 Wall, Mike. "'Asteroid Day' to Raise Awareness of Space Rock Threat" Dec. 3, 2014.
  3. 1 2 Clark, Dr. Stuart. "Second anniversary of Chelyabinsk meteorite strike" The Guardian Feb. 15, 2015.
  4. United Nations. Accessed 30 June 2021.
  5. ">Elgan Rhodri Hearn. "Spaceguard centre in Knighton pay tribute to scientific genius Stephen Hawking" Country Times March 14, 2018.
  6. 1 2 Asteroid Day List of Signatories Archived 2017-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Knapton, Sarah. "Asteroids could wipe out humanity, warn Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox" The Telegraph Dec. 4, 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 "Our story" Archived 2017-07-01 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Clark, Stuart. "Brian May warns of catastrophic threat to Earth from asteroids – video" The Guardian VIDEO June 30, 2015.
  10. Rajan, Nitya. "Brian May Talks Armageddon And Why The 'Bruce Willis Solution' Won't Work" Huffington Post July 8, 2015.
  11. Blitzer, Jonathan. "The Age of Asteroids" The New Yorker Dec. 10, 2014.
  12. Minor Planet Center
  13. Rao, Nathan. "Scores of GIANT asteroids on course to hurtle past Earth within the month, NASA reveals" Express Jan. 1, 2015.
  14. Highfield, Roger. "Asteroid Day Declaration at Science Museum" The Science Museum, Blog December 4, 2014.
  15. Rob Verger. "International Asteroid Day will be June 30, UN proclaims" FOX News, Dec. 7, 2016.
  16. " Events page"
  17. "Get set for Asteroid Day" Astronomy Magazine June 24, 2015.
  18. "Assessment and Mitigation of Asteroid Impact Hazards, Trigo-Rodríguez J.M., Gritsevich M., Palme H. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 2015 Barcelona Asteroid Day. Springer International Publishing (2017),"
  19. "Der erste Internationale ASTEROID DAY" NHM Vienna June 30, 2015.
  20. Johnson, Billy. "Happy Asteroid Day: We Are Woefully Unprepared!" Newsweek, June 30, 2015.
  21. "Asteroid Day San Francisco" SpaceRef, June 30, 2015.
  22. Highfield, Roger. "Why is Asteroid Day important?" Inside the Science Museum, blog, June 11, 2015.
  23. "Asteroid Day Special Event – Michael Busch and Peter Jenniskens (SETI Talks)" SETI Institute June 30, 2015.
  24. "Asteroid Day – ESA Experts Explain the Nature and Threat of Asteroids" ESA Space videos, June 30, 2015.
  25. "It's #AsteroidDay! @51degreesmovie premiers tonight @sciencemuseum, raising awareness of asteroid threats from space" UK Space Agency Twitter account, June 30, 2015.
  26. ESA. "UN recognises 30 June as Asteroid Day".
  27. UNGA Resolution 2016 (A_71_492), "International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space" December 6, 2016.