Asteroid Day

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Asteroid Day
Asteroid Day Logo HQ.png
Asteroid Day logo
Observed byWorldwide
TypeUnited Nations
BeginsJune 30
DateJune 30

Asteroid Day (also known as International Asteroid Day) is an annual global event which is held on the anniversary of the Siberian Tunguska event that took place on June 30, 1908, the most harmful known asteroid-related event on Earth in recent history. [1] [2] [3] The United Nations has proclaimed it be observed globally on June 30 every year in its resolution. 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 8th, 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] [4] 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] [5] Asteroid Day was officially launched on December 3, 2014. [6] In February 2014, Brian May, astrophysicist and guitarist for the rock band Queen, 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. [7] [8] [9] 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. [10] On Asteroid Day 2017, minor planet 248750 (discoverer M. Dawson) was officially named Asteroidday by the International Astronomical Union. [11]

Asteroid Day declaration

The workgroup of Asteroid Day created a declaration called "100X Declaration", which appeals to all scientists and technologists who are supporting the idea of saving the earth from asteroids, but not only specialists are asked to sign, everyone can sign this declaration. Today, the 100X Declaration has been signed by more than 22,000 private citizens. [5] [7] [12] [13]

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

More than 1M asteroids have the potential to impact Earth and through all the available telescopes worldwide, we have discovered only about one percent. 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 would the vehicle to garner public support to increase our knowledge of when asteroids might strike and how we can protect ourselves.” [7]

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 organisations.
  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. [14]

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. [15] 41 astronauts and cosmonauts participated in activities on the day. [16] The general goal was to raise awareness about the threat posed by asteroid impacts. Institutions such as Institut de Ciències de l'Espai, [17] the Natural History Museum in Vienna, [18] the American Natural History Museum, [19] the California Academy of Sciences, [20] the Science Museum in London, [21] the SETI institute, [22] the European Space Agency, [23] the UK Space Agency, [24] 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. [25]

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." [26]

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  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. ">Elgan Rhodri Hearn. "Spaceguard centre in Knighton pay tribute to scientific genius Stephen Hawking" Country Times March 14, 2018.
  5. 1 2 Asteroid Day List of Signatories Archived 2017-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Knapton, Sarah. "Asteroids could wipe out humanity, warn Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox" The Telegraph Dec. 4, 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 "Our story" Archived 2017-07-01 at the Wayback Machine
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  9. Rajan, Nitya. "Brian May Talks Armageddon And Why The 'Bruce Willis Solution' Won't Work" Huffington Post July 8, 2015.
  10. Blitzer, Jonathan. "The Age of Asteroids" The New Yorker Dec. 10, 2014.
  11. Minor Planet Center
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  14. Rob Verger. "International Asteroid Day will be June 30, UN proclaims" FOX News, Dec. 7, 2016.
  15. " Events page"
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  18. "Der erste Internationale ASTEROID DAY" NHM Vienna June 30, 2015.
  19. Johnson, Billy. "Happy Asteroid Day: We Are Woefully Unprepared!" Newsweek, June 30, 2015.
  20. "Asteroid Day San Francisco" SpaceRef, June 30, 2015.
  21. Highfield, Roger. "Why is Asteroid Day important?" Inside the Science Museum, blog, June 11, 2015.
  22. "Asteroid Day Special Event - Michael Busch and Peter Jenniskens (SETI Talks)" SETI Institute June 30, 2015.
  23. "Asteroid Day - ESA Experts Explain the Nature and Threat of Asteroids" ESA Space videos, June 30, 2015.
  24. "It's #AsteroidDay! @51degreesmovie premiers tonight @sciencemuseum, raising awareness of asteroid threats from space" UK Space Agency Twitter account, June 30, 2015.
  25. ESA. "UN recognises 30 June as Asteroid Day".
  26. UNGA Resolution 2016 (A_71_492), "International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space" December 6, 2016.