International Asteroid Day 2024: Know its history and significance

International Asteroid Day is observed every year on June 30 to raise awareness about the threat of asteroid impact and its potential danger to our planet.

The day is meant to make people aware of the distress communication actions that should be taken globally in case of a credible near-Earth object threat.

This year, the Asteroid Foundation is celebrating the 9th Asteroid Day with two major events in Luxembourg – the Asteroid Day Lecture on June 28th, followed by the Asteroid Day Festival on June 29th.

The event aims to highlight the importance and impact of space on Earth, as well as to attract people to learn about asteroids and space science.

Asteroid Day: History

Asteroids are tiny celestial rocks that orbit the Sun. They are much smaller than planets, ranging from 10 meters to 510 kilometers in diameter. The first asteroid to be discovered was Ceres, discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. According to NASA, most of them reside in the main asteroid belt – the region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution A/RES/71/90 in December 2016, declaring June 30 as International Asteroid Day. The date also marks the anniversary of the Tunguska asteroid impact on Siberia, Russian Federation, on June 30, 1908, the largest asteroid impact on Earth in recorded history.

The United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution based on a proposal by the Association of Space Explorers, which was supported by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

Asteroid Day: Significance

The day aims to spread awareness among people about the potential threat posed by asteroids or 'near-Earth objects'. It educates about how threats are monitored and the importance of asteroids in our solar system.

In addition, Asteroid Day also aims to encourage international efforts to identify and prevent asteroid impacts, for which astronauts, scientists, and public figures signed the Asteroid Day Declaration in 2015.

The declaration aims to prepare and train those responsible for increasing efforts to find and track asteroids, as well as to encourage the creation of plans to deflect or destroy potentially hazardous asteroids.

The day is celebrated by organizing several events and activities across the world by space agencies, enthusiasts and various other organizations and observatories.

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