International Asteroid Day

The United Nations has declared “30 June as International Asteroid Day to mark the anniversary of the Siberian Tunguska event that took place on June 30th, 1908, and is the most harmful known asteroid-related event on Earth in recent history and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard
Asteroid Day also 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.

Asteroid Day was co-founded by filmmaker Grigorij Richters, B612 Foundation COO Danica Remy, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and Brian May, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist. 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. Asteroid Day was officially launched on December 3, 2014. 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. After screening the film at the 2014 Starmus Festival, 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. On Asteroid Day 2017, minor planet 248750 (discoverer M.Dawson) was officially named Asteroidday by the International Astronomical Union.

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. 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.

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 also a way garner public support to increase our knowledge of when asteroids might strike and how we can protect ourselves.” The main three goals are:

  • Employ available technology to detect and track Near-Earth Asteroids that threaten human populations via governments and private and philanthropic organisations.
  • To acceleratethe discovery and tracking of Near-Earth Asteroids to 100,000 per year within the next ten years.
  • to adopt Asteroid Day Globally to increase awareness of the asteroid hazard and our efforts to prevent impacts.

On Asteroid Day 2015-2016, there were over 600 events According to the AsteroidDay.org website in 78 countries participated. The general goal was to raise awareness about the threat posed by asteroid impacts. Institutions such as the Natural History Museum in Vienna, the American Natural History Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Science Museum in London, the SETI institute, the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency, and others participated in educational activities. The first Asteroid Day was held on June 30, 2015. 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..”

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