International Asteroid Day, observed every June 30, raises awareness of the hazards of asteroid impacts and commemorates the anniversary of the “largest asteroid impact in recorded history.”
International Asteroid Day sounds like a rather interesting observation, but it’s actually an important and scientific one.
Established in 2016, The United Nations General Assembly adopted International Asteroid Day to raise awareness about the possible hazards of an asteroid impact and to inform people of the steps that will be taken “on a global level” should we face a “credible” threat from a near-Earth object (NEO). As the UN explains, these are either asteroids or comets that pass pretty close to our planet’s orbit.
The day also marks the anniversary of the Tunguska event over Siberia on June 30, 1908. On that day, a massive explosion, believed to be an asteroid or a comet, flattened 500,000 acres of forest near Podkamennaya Tunguska River. The explosion is said to be “a thousand times more powerful” than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, making it the “largest asteroid impact in recorded history.”
Today, NEOs still pose “potentially catastrophic threats” to the Earth. According to NASA, scientists are monitoring them, developing warning systems, and even devising possible “diversion tactics” in case one is found to be potentially hazardous to the planet.
The “riskiest” asteroid was said to be 2021 QM1, the 50-meter asteroid that was believed to have a chance to impact our planet on April 2, 2052. Fortunately, experts have now “ruled out” a 2052 impact after thorough observations.
“With Asteroid Day Live 2022 set for 30 June, we can safely say that the riskiest asteroid known to humankind in the last year will not strike–at least not for the next century,” according to the European Space Agency.
On this day, let’s observe International Day by reading some interesting quotes about asteroids. (Courtesy: Brainy Quote, AZ Quotes, Good Reads)
- “By preventing dangerous asteroid strikes, we can save millions of people, or even our entire species. And, as human beings, we can take responsibility for preserving this amazing evolutionary experiment of which we and all life on Earth are a part.” -Rusty Schweickart
- “Sooner or later, we will face a catastrophic threat from space. Of all the possible threats, only a gigantic asteroid hit can destroy the entire planet. If we prepare now, we better our odds of survival. The dinosaurs never knew what hit them.” -Michio Kaku
- “The chances that your tombstone will read ‘Killed by Asteroid’ are about the same as they’d be for ‘Killed in Airplane Crash.'” -Neil deGrasse Tyson
- “Some people fear that today we are again in mortal danger of massive volcanic eruptions or colliding asteroids. Hollywood producers make billions out of these anxieties. Yes, a big asteroid will probably hit our planet sometime in the next 100 million years, but it is very unlikely to happen next Tuesday. Instead of fearing asteroids, we should fear ourselves.” -Yuval Noah Harari