Global Projects to Inspire Your Asteroid Awareness EventsGlobal Projects to Inspire Your Asteroid Awareness Events https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/06195720/headshots.png 480 270 Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/06195720/headshots.png
If you are looking for inspiration to organise asteroid awareness events and include wider space topics, we got you covered. In this article, we will highlight global space awareness projects that promote amongst others asteroid exploration, planetary defence, astronomy, scientists, and other professionals involved. These movements have gained great popularity in many countries and some were even officially recognised by the United Nations just like Asteroid Day.
Check out these global space awareness projects and learn about the ideas to diversify your asteroid outreach events:
The International Astronomical Union has two very interesting global outreach projects. One of them is Women and Girls in Astronomy, which takes place annually from February to March when two international days adopted by the United Nations are celebrated – the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and International Women’s Day.
Created to recognise the role of women in advancing science and encourage girls to choose astronomy as a career, this project highlights women who have been protagonists in asteroid exploration and planetary defence missions to asteroids such as Lucy, DART and OSIRIS-REx. It is also a great opportunity to talk about asteroids discovered by women and reveal young female students’ participation in asteroid search programs.
Another project is the 100 Hours of Astronomy which involves people of all ages globally in astronomical activities round-the-clock. Created in 2009 for the International Year of Astronomy, it has been reissued in recent years at the beginning of October.
Consider making a presentation about asteroids and check if the favourable period for observing them coincides with the project’s implementation dates. Heavens Above is a good example of a website that mentions the asteroids that are currently visible and their location in the sky.
Other initiatives were created directly or recognized by the United Nations. One of them is the International Day of Light. Organised by UNESCO’s International Basic Science Program and held annually in May, it focuses on light’s role in science, culture, art, education, and sustainable development. It’s a great occasion to explain how the light reflected by asteroids helps to understand the various characteristics of these celestial bodies.
World Space Week is a celebration coordinated by the UN and the World Space Week Association, always held from October 4th to 10th. You can celebrate it by bringing together a series of outreach and education events about space, and the history of asteroid exploration missions. It would be a good idea to host lectures or organise paper model exhibitions and workshops.
Another good option is Yuri’s Night, an initiative by The SpaceKind Foundation. It is held on or around the International Day for Human Space Flight. This date celebrates the arrival of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Space and also the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle, both on April 12th.
This date is perfect to talk about humanity’s advance towards asteroids, from the imaginary through works of science fiction to the exploration and resource extraction missions scheduled for the near future.
Shoot for the Moon
Moon’s craters are a great resource to help us understand the history and scale of asteroid impacts in the solar system.
In July, International Moon Day is an annual event organised by the Moon Village Association and recognized by the UN. It celebrates the day that man set foot on the Moon for the first time. In the same month, On The Moon Again initiative takes place. It was created by a committee of French scientific organisations with three nights of Moon observation activities.
Between September and October, you can join the International Observe the Moon Night. This outreach project is a NASA initiative and focuses on the observation activities of our natural satellite.
Some maps, such as the simple versions available on the Astrostona website or the Virtual Moon Atlas software are good tools for presenting interesting lunar regions to your audience.
Organisations like Astronomers Without Borders are at the forefront of great initiatives dedicated to popularising Astronomy around the world. The Global Astronomy Month, held by them every April, has a list of activities that can be adapted to the study and observation of asteroids.
Finally, Pint of Science, an initiative by a group of British researchers, proposes the presentation of scientific subjects in informal environments. It’s an amazing chance to explain asteroids to the general public without being too academic. Gather in a local cafe, pub or restaurant with your audience and consider serving themed dishes or drinks during a presentation on asteroids.
In many countries, national astronomy and space days are officially sanctioned and celebrated. There are great opportunities for activities about asteroids that highlight your local scientists and scholars.