4 December 2014 by David Eicher
You may have heard yesterday, amid the bustle of news about the approaching test of the Orion launch vehicle, of the other major astronomical news event of the day. At separate, simultaneous events in London and San Francisco, a distinguished group of scientists announced Asteroid Day, which will take place June 30, 2015.
This important event, and movement, is being run by AsteroidDay.org, an organization founded by London-based filmmaker Grig Richters and supported by a who’s-who of planetary scientists, astronaut-explorers, astronomers, artists, and musicians who care about the very real danger to Earth from near-Earth objects (NEOs).
For complete info, see www.asteroidday.org.
At this time, planetary scientists know of nearly 11,000 NEOs — nearly all asteroids and a few comets — but perhaps a million space rocks live in the inner solar system and could collide with our planet. We all know what the K-Pg impact did for the dinosaur population 66 million years ago. We don’t want that to happen again. We need a hundredfold increase in discovery and orbital analysis.
So Asteroid Day will dramatically raise awareness, and we hope funding, for NEO research. In London, at the Science Museum, England’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees read a declaration, supported by nearly 100 signatories, and Richters also spoke, along with astrophysicist and Queen founding member Brian May.
In San Francisco, at a ceremony at the California Academy of Sciences, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweikart spoke along with fellow astronaut Ed Lu. Together, they are founders of the B612 Foundation and the Sentinel Mission, efforts to catalog and potentially deflect NEOs. They were joined by Bill Nye, president of The Planetary Society, and astronaut Tom Jones.
I am very proud to say that Astronomy magazine is a founding partner of the Asteroid Day movement and that I am a proud signatory of the 100x Declaration.
Signers include Lord Martin Rees, Kip Thorne, Brian May, Bill Nye, Richard Dawkins, Carolyn Shoemaker, Chris Hadfield, Brian Cox, Jim Lovell, Alexi Leonov, Garik Israelian, Alan Eustace, Dorin Prunariu, Jill Tarter, David Eicher, Anousheh Ansari, Rusty Schweikart, Tom Jones, Peer Gabriel, Harold Kroto, David Jewett, Jane Luu, Robert Williams, John Ellis, Mark Kelly, Robert Crippen, and many, many others.
I urge you to get involved with this very important movement. We need to know much more about the NEO population around us and to devise and ready methods for asteroid deflection.
Get involved! Help to save the world!
You can read the complete press release HERE.
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