Today marks the fifth annual International Asteroid Day. Recognised by the United Nations, Asteroid Day marks a global opportunity to raise awareness of the threat and opportunity posed by the numerous rocky bodies zooming through space.
This year, Asteroid Day events will focus on the role of asteroids in the formation of our solar system and advances in technology to better detect, track and investigate asteroids. This includes reviewing our ability to deflect a wayward asteroid headed towards Earth - programmes that both NASA and ESA have initiated with their Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and HERA missions respectively.
Just this week, astronomers discovered a car-size asteroid hours before it collided with Earth and burned up in the atmosphere, news sources report.
Scientists in Hawaii initially spotted the asteroid, named 2019 MO on Saturday (June 22). Soon after, the rogue space rock broke apart creating a large fireball as it hit the atmosphere about 380 kilometres (240 miles) south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the University of Hawaii.
Right now, the Asteroid Day’s website is broadcasting LIVE from Luxembourg, with a 48-hour streaming global broadcast dedicated entirely to space. What began as two live stream broadcasts in 2014, now includes thousands of independent events organised by citizens around the world on all five continents.
Asteroid Day global programs, including Asteroid Day LIVE, are programs of the Asteroid Foundation, a Luxembourg-based nonprofit organisation. The broadcast will bring expert panels, speakers, and programs from global space organisations to a global audience of over 10 million. The past lineup of renowned scientists, astronauts, and visionaries include:
- Physicist and BBC commentator Brian Cox
- Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart
- Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg Etienne Schneider
- ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner
- Former Nasa Ames Director Pete Worden
- Biologist Richard Dawkins
- Singer Sarah Brightman
- Asteroid mission directors and Primary Investigators
- Dozens of astronauts, scientists, and asteroid experts
Asteroid Day was co-founded by astrophysicist and famed musician Dr. Brian May of the rock group QUEEN; Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart; Filmmaker Grig Richters; and B612 President Danica Remy, to promote awareness and provide knowledge to the general public about the importance of asteroids in the formation of our universe and the role they play in our solar system today. Events are scheduled during the week of 30 June, the date of the largest asteroid impact of Earth in recorded history (Tunguska).
In just five years, Asteroid Day has evolved to include the participation of all major national space agencies, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, and NASA, and prominent scientists, astronomers, educators and media worldwide. In 2016, the United Nations declared Asteroid Day an official day of education, initiated in part by a need to better understand the role of asteroids, following the 15 February, 2013 meteor impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
“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 find asteroids,” explains Dr. May.
Join in the Asteroid Day conversation on social media!
- Website: AsteroidDay.org
- Twitter: @asteroidday #AsteroidDay2019, #AsteroidDayLive;
- Facebook: facebook.com/AsteroidDay #AsteroidDay2019, #AsteroidDayLive
- YouTube: youtube.com/user/asteroidday