About Asteroid Day

In February 2014, Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist and famed guitarist for the rock band QUEEN, began working with Grigorij Richters, the director of a new film titled 51 Degrees North, a fictional story of an asteroid impact on London and the resulting human condition. May composed the music for the film and suggested that Richters preview it at Starmus, an event organized by Dr. Garik Israelian and attended by esteemed astrophysicists, scientists and artists, including Dr. Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Rick Wakeman. The result was the beginning of discussions that would lead to the launch of Asteroid Day in 2015.

To insure that the nascent idea of a movement had global support, May then introduced Richters to the B612 Foundation, an American-based non-profit advocacy organization created to protect the world from dangerous asteroids through early detection. B612 co-founders Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart and three-time Astronaut Dr. Ed Lu, along with Danica Remy, Chief Operations Officer, brought to Asteroid Day a network of planetary defense specialists and global contacts. The four official co-founders of Asteroid Day are: Dr Brian May, Danica Remy (COO of B612), Grigorij Richters and Rusty Schweickart.

The Asteroid Day co-founders, along with Dr. Ed Lu, Astronaut Tom Jones and Dr. Mark Boslough, a well-respected asteroid scientist, drafted the 100X Asteroid Declaration. Early signers of the 100X Asteroid Declaration were global leaders such as Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal of the UK, musical artist Peter Gabriel and other planetary defense experts. The co-founders subsequently sought the endorsement of the 100X Asteroid Declaration by over 100 astronauts, nobel laureates, entertainers and business leaders around the world. The public announcement of the 100X Asteroid Declaration and claiming of June 30th as Asteroid Day began the journey towards a global grassroots campaign with tens of thousands of supporters across the globe.

The story behind Asteroid Day

Narrated by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Asteroid Day takes place annually on June 30. It is a global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids, the impact hazard they may pose, and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations from future asteroid impacts. Asteroid Day is held each year on the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia. A relatively small asteroid, about 40 meters across or the size of a modest office building, devastated an unpopulated area about the size of a major metropolitan city. Regionally organised large and small events are held on Asteroid Day, and range from lectures and other educational programmes to live concerts and broader community events, to raise public awareness of the need for increased detection and tracking of asteroids.

The 100x Asteroid Declaration*, calling for this action, has been signed by hundreds of astronauts, scientists, artists and leaders in business and technology as well as thousands of private citizens. Employing existing and new technology to detect and track asteroids and demonstrating deflection capabilities to prevent future asteroid impacts could be humanity’s greatest achievement. Asteroid Day could one day help save ALL the species on this planet by highlighting the work that is currently being done locally and globally in this field. Asteroid Day highlights men and women who dedicate their lives to the science and technology that will enable planetary defense. You can help by organising a local event and by signing the 100X Declaration. We’re continuing to learn about the evolution of the solar system and the role of asteroids in space and Earth’s history. Small impacts occur regularly and NASA shows that world-wide efforts to date have found about 95% of the asteroids that could end life on Earth as we know it, were one to impact. Based on what’s known about the NEO population and Earth’s impact history, scientists predict that Earth will experience another large-scale impact someday in the future – they just don’t know exactly when. Our goal is to raise public awareness about asteroid science and plans for planetary defense.

ESA astronaut Tim Peake talks about Asteroid Day.

*100x Asteroid Declaration: The 100x is an aspirational goal. Current asteroid survey projects are finding about 1500 asteroids per year that can come near the Earth. It is not likely that we will detect 100 times this number of asteroids per year with our current capabilities.