London, June 21: Many of us are not aware that June 30 is celebrated as International Asteroid Day. Asteroid Day is an annual global event which reminds people to wave the red flag regarding the ever-growing threat of an asteroid impacting the planet Earth and what can be done to protect the green planet. Once in 1908, a small asteroid exploded over Tunguska in Siberia and devastated over 2,000 square kilometres.
It is not clear yet to anyone when the next big impact will happen, but many of them are trying to predict and intercept its arrival. “Sooner or later we will get… a minor or major impact,” Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, told AFP ahead of the International Asteroid Day.
Experts including Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and International Space Station astronaut Nicole Stott will take part this year in the discussions and presentations which will be streamed live from Luxembourg today. They will also answer questions from social media followers.
Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen’s University Belfast in the UK warned unexpected strike in today’s world could easily destroy a major city and a larger asteroid could be more dangerous. “It is important to know that scientists and engineers have made great strides in detecting Near-Earth Asteroids and understanding the threat posed by them,” said Fitzsimmons.
He also added saying, “Over 1,800 potentially hazardous objects have been discovered so far, but there are much more waiting to be found.”
“Astronomers find Near-Earth Asteroids every day and most are harmless. But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them,” he added.