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UNITED NATIONS PROCLAIMS JUNE 30 AS INTERNATIONAL ASTEROID DAY
NEW YORK, NEW YORK (December 07, 2016) — The founders of Asteroid Day announced today that the United Nations General Assembly has officially recognized the annual event, declaring “30 June International Asteroid Day to observe each year at the international level the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, Russia, on 30 June 1908 and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard.”
The UN Press release can be found at http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2016/unisos478.html
“We are extremely proud of the UN recognition as we founded Asteroid Day to raise awareness of the asteroid threat and the opportunity for the human species to unite around a single goal: protect our planet from asteroid impacts,” stated co-founders Dr. Brian May, Danica Remy, Grig Richters, and Rusty Schweickart. “Asteroid impacts are the only natural disaster we know how to prevent if we, as the crew of Spaceship Earth work together towards a global solution.”
Early in 2016, the ASE Committee on Near-Earth Objects introduced a formal recommendation in Vienna with the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that the General Assembly adopt Asteroid Day as an annual global event.
The UN’s Committee has had a long-standing interest in improving its knowledge of the distribution and characterization of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, and in predicting and mitigating the threat of a NEO impact, especially for developing nations through its two advisory bodies the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG).
Through the leadership of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), an international organization of astronauts, cosmonauts, and taikonauts, and B612, a private organization to protect Earth from asteroid impacts, the first Asteroid Day was held on June 30, 2015. During Asteroid Day 2016, more than 500 asteroid-related educational events were held in 72 countries, involving more than 150,000 participants and reaching over one million people through “live” online activities.
At the official announcement of Asteroid Day on December 03, 2014, the organization launched the 100X Asteroid Declaration, which contained three principal goals:
- Employ available technology to detect and track Near Earth Asteroids that threaten human populations via governments and private and philanthropic organizations.
- A rapid hundredfold (100x) acceleration of the discovery and tracking of Near Earth Asteroids to 100,000 per year within the next ten years.
- Global adoption of Asteroid Day, heightening awareness of the asteroid hazard and our efforts to prevent impacts, on June 30, 2015.
Today, the Declaration has been signed by hundreds of scientists and planetary experts, leaders in business and government and more than 40,000 private citizens. With the UN recognition, one of our three proposed actions has been fulfilled just two years after our initial launch.
Dr. Ed Lu, three-time Shuttle Astronaut, and CEO, B612: “The United Nations declaration of Asteroid Day is a testament to the importance of the international work by scientists and engineers around the world to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts. If we do our job properly, the Earth should never be hit again by another large asteroid!”
Jan Wörner, ESA Director General: “This international recognition shows how the subject of asteroids is becoming more and more of a global endeavor.”
Romanian Astronaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu: “ASE is proud of the important role it has played in originating, promoting, and supporting Asteroid Day and seeing it now recognized by the United Nations.”
British astronaut Tim Peake: “All the best for Asteroid Day. We only have one Earth so let’s do all we can to protect it.”
Asteroid Day is a global movement to increase public awareness of potential asteroid collisions and the means to protect Earth. It was co-founded in 2014, by Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist and lead guitarist for the rock band Queen, Danica Remy, B612 Chief Operations Officer, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and German filmmaker Grig Richters. Asteroid Day is held on 30 June each year to mark Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event, which devastated over 2000 square km, the size of any major metropolitan city.