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International Asteroid Day 2024 is Observed on 30th June

What is Asteroid Day?

International Asteroid Day is observed on June 30th each year. It aims to increase public awareness about the potential dangers of asteroids and other near-Earth objects (NEOs). The United Nations officially recognized this day in December 2016.

Why June 30th?

This date was chosen to commemorate the Tunguska event, which occurred on June 30, 1908, in Siberia, Russia. It was the largest recorded asteroid impact in Earth’s recent history.

The Goals of Asteroid Day

The main objectives of International Asteroid Day are:

  1. To educate the public about asteroid risks
  2. To inform people about global communication plans in case of a serious NEO threat
  3. To promote the study and tracking of asteroids

What are Near-Earth Objects?

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets that orbit close to Earth’s path around the sun. Scientists have discovered over 16,000 NEOs so far. While most pose no immediate danger, some could potentially collide with Earth in the future.

Notable Asteroid Events

The Tunguska Event (1908)

On June 30, 1908, a large explosion occurred over Tunguska, Siberia. It flattened about 2,000 square kilometers of forest. Scientists believe this was caused by an asteroid or comet exploding in the atmosphere.

The Chelyabinsk Meteor (2013)

On February 15, 2013, a smaller but still significant event occurred over Chelyabinsk, Russia. A meteor about 18 meters wide entered Earth’s atmosphere at high speed. It exploded in the air, creating a bright flash and powerful shock wave. This event injured over 1,600 people and damaged thousands of buildings.

Why Should We Care About Asteroids?

Asteroid impacts are rare but can be extremely dangerous. Even a relatively small asteroid could cause significant damage to a city or region. Larger impacts could have global consequences. By studying and tracking asteroids, we can:

  1. Identify potential threats early
  2. Develop plans to prevent impacts
  3. Improve our understanding of the solar system

International Efforts to Address Asteroid Threats

Several organizations work together to monitor and plan for potential asteroid dangers:

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

UNOOSA recognizes that asteroid threats are a global issue requiring international cooperation. They help coordinate efforts between different countries and organizations.

The International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN)

IAWN was established in 2014. Its main tasks are:

  • Detecting potentially hazardous NEOs
  • Tracking their orbits
  • Providing warnings if a dangerous object is discovered

The Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG)

SMPAG is a group of space agencies that work on:

  • Identifying technologies to deflect asteroids
  • Planning potential missions to protect Earth from impacts

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