The second annual Asteroid Day happens on June 30, 2016. According to its organizers, Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign to help people learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet from asteroid impacts. You can join the Asteroid Day discussion on Twitter and Facebook.
Asteroid Day 2016 will also include hundreds of events: films, concerts, interactive workshops and panels with engineers, scientists and astronauts.
Here’s the premise of Asteroid Day, in the words of co-founder Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist, guitarist and songwriter for the band Queen:
Our goal is to dedicate one day each year to learn about asteroids, the origins of our universe, and to support the resources necessary to see, track and deflect dangerous asteroids from Earth’s orbital path. Asteroids are a natural disaster we know how to prevent.
— Queen (@QueenWillRock) June 30, 2016
Asteroid Day is held on the anniversary of the largest asteroid impact in Earth’s recent history – an event that took place in Siberia on June 30, 1908, known as the Tunguska explosion. A small asteroid apparently exploded over Tunguska, Siberia. It released the equivalent of 100 tons of TNT, devastating an area of about 800 square miles, the size of a major metropolitan city.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is also an Asteroid Day partner. ESA asteroid specialists will be participating at events in Barcelona, Munich and Heidelberg. Ian Carnelli, project manager for ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission, spoke from the ESTEC technical centre at Noordwijk, the Netherlands:
ESA has been studying the role of space missions to address the asteroid hazard over the last 15 years.
Today we have the technology to change the path of an asteroid, but we need to test our technology in space and learn if our models are correct by measuring all the relevant parameters.
Asteroid Day media partner, Discovery Science will dedicate the entire day on June 30 to asteroid programming.
— ESA (@esa) June 30, 2016
Bottom line: Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign to help people learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet from asteroid impacts. The second annual Asteroid Day happens on June 30, 2016.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.