Asteroid Day is a chance to learn about space and plan for disaster

asteroid 1999 JD6

Radar mapping revealed two lobes of a 2-kilometer-long asteroid (designated 1999 JD6) when it buzzed Earth on July 25, 2015. Asteroid Day on June 30 raises awareness of run-ins with such rocks.  


Asteroid enthusiasts, rejoice! Thursday, June 30 is your day to remind the world that humankind is just one impact with a space rock away from annihilation (or, at the least, a very bad day).

Asteroid Day, started in 2015, brings together scientists, artists and concerned citizens to raise awareness of the hazards of asteroid impacts and build support for solutions that might avert disaster from the skies. Events are planned at museums, science centers and other locations around the world.

The date coincides with the anniversary of the most powerful impact in recorded history, when a roughly 40-meter-wide asteroid crashed near Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908. The run-in flattened about 2,000 square kilometers of forest and released about 185 times the energy of the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima. Estimates vary, but such collisions happen roughly once every several hundred to 1,000 years.

Christopher Crockett is an Associate News Editor. He was formerly the astronomy writer from 2014 to 2017, and he has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

More Stories from Science News on Astronomy