What’s happening on Asteroid Day 2017

Asteroid Day co-founder Grig Richters with Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider at press conference. Photo by Max Alexander.

30 June is Asteroid Day, which seeks to raise awareness “of the Earth’s vulnerability and the realization that asteroids hit Earth all the time”, and is held each year on the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.

The annual event began in 2015, a year after astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May worked on director Grigorij Richters’ film 51 Degrees North, in which the world will end due to a series of asteroids striking the earth. The two of them, along with B612 Foundation’s Danica Remy and former NASA astronaut Rusty Schweickart, then became co-founders of Asteroid Day.

After the four co-founders got together, they drafted the 100X Asteroid Declaration, which calls for increasing the asteroid discovery rate to 100,000 (or 100x) per year within the next 10 years. To date, more than 22,000 private citizens have signed it, including Martin Rees, Richard Dawkins, Peter Gabriel, and Anousheh Ansari of the Ansari X Prize.

As part of Asteroid Day 2017, there will be a 24-hour global broadcast produced by Asteroid Day and sponsored by OHB, BCE and the Government of Luxembourg. The broadcast will be streamed on the Asteroid Day website, on ESA, NASA and JAXA websites, and direct to television via satellite, through SES’ Astra 1L at 19.2 East.

The program includes a presentation on NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission, a talk on JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 mission, several panels with scientists discussing asteroid-tracking and planetary defense, as well as documentary films.

There are also events expected to take place all over the world, with a map showing various local chapters and their events, and an abundance of resources on Asteroid Day’s website for anyone interested in the topic.

Visit the Asteroid Day 2017 website here: https://asteroidday.org/

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