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Asteroid Day 2016 is June 30

Hundreds of events – films, concerts, panels with engineers, scientists and astronauts – about asteroids and how to protect our planet from asteroid impacts.

Image via Debbie Lewis

Image via Debbie Lewis

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.

See maps of known asteroids near Earth today

Hurry! Sign up by midnight UTC on June 30 (8 p.m. ET) to help astronomers track asteroids.

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.

Brian May

Astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May is a co-founder of Asteroid Day.

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.

An object entered the atmosphere over the Urals early in the morning of 15 February 2013. The fireball exploded above Chelyabinsk city, and the resulting overpressure caused damage to buildings and injuries to hundreds of people. This photo was taken by Alex Alishevskikh from about a minute after noticing the blast. Photo credit: Alex Alishevskikh/Flickr

An object entered the atmosphere over the Urals early in the morning of February 15, 2013. The fireball exploded above Chelyabinsk city, resulting in damage to buildings and injuries to some 1,500 people. This photo was taken by Alex Alishevskikh from about a minute after noticing the blast. Photo via Alex Alishevskikh/Flickr

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.

To learn more and participate, visit Asteroid Day’s website

Eleanor Imster

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