Asteroid Day (also known as International Asteroid Day) is an annual global event which is held on the anniversary of the Tunguska event in 1908, when an asteroid leveled about 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi) of forest in Siberia. The United Nations has proclaimed it be observed globally on June 30 every year in its resolution. Asteroid Day aims to raise awareness about asteroids and what can be done to protect the Earth, its families, communities, and future generations from a catastrophic event.
Asteroid Day was co-founded by Stephen Hawking, filmmaker Grigorij Richters, B612 Foundation president Danica Remy, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and Brian May, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist. Over 200 astronauts, scientists, technologists and artists, including Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Peter Gabriel, Jim Lovell, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, Alexei Leonov, Bill Anders, Kip Thorne, Lord Martin Rees, Chris Hadfield, Rusty Schweickart and Brian Cox co-signed the Asteroid Day declaration. Asteroid Day was officially launched on December 3, 2014. In February 2014, Brian May began working with Grigorij Richters, director of the film 51 Degrees North, the story of a fictional asteroid impact on London and the human condition resulting from such an event. May composed the music for the film. After screening the film at the 2014 Starmus Festival, Remy, Schweickart, Richters and May co-founded Asteroid Day in October 2014 which they officially announced during a press conference with Lord Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, Ed Lu, Thomas Jones, Ryan Watt and Bill Nye. The event was live streamed from the Science Museum in London, the California Academy of Sciences, New York and São Paulo. On Asteroid Day 2017, minor planet 248750 (discoverer M. Dawson) was officially named Asteroidday by the International Astronomical Union.
Asteroid Day declaration
The workgroup of Asteroid Day created a declaration known as the “100X Declaration”, which appeals to all scientists and technologists who support the idea of saving the earth from asteroids. Today, the 100X Declaration has been signed by more than 22,000 private citizens,[clarification needed] including those who are not specialists.
Radar images and a computer model of an asteroid
Although more than 1,000,000 asteroids have the potential to strike the Earth, only about one percent have been discovered. The 100X Declaration calls for increasing the asteroid discovery rate to 100,000 (or 100x) per year within the next 10 years. It is hoped that this will bolster efforts for addressing potential strikes.