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Business News/ Science / News/  World Asteroid Day 2023: Date, history, significance and other details
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World Asteroid Day 2023: Date, history, significance and other details

World Asteroid Day aims to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard and to inform the public about the crisis communication actions to be taken at the global level in case of a credible near-Earth object (NOEs) catastrophic threat.

According to NASA’s Center for NEO Studies, there are over 16 000 Near Earth Asteroids discoveredPremium
According to NASA’s Center for NEO Studies, there are over 16 000 Near Earth Asteroids discovered

World Asteroid Day is an annual global event which is held on June 30, the anniversary of the Tunguska event in 1908 when a meteor air burst decimated about 2,000 square km (500,000 acres) of pine forest in central Siberia, Russia. The Tunguska asteroid event was the Earth's largest asteroid impact in recorded history.

World Asteroid Day aims to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard and to inform the public about the crisis communication actions to be taken at the global level in case of a credible near-Earth object (NOEs) catastrophic threat to our planet. The NEO is an asteroid or comet, which passes close to the Earth's orbit. According to NASA’s Center for NEO Studies, there are over 16 000 Near Earth Asteroids discovered. 

World Asteroid Day: History 

The Asteroid Day was cofounded in 2014 (the year after the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor air burst) by renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, astrophysicist Brian May and some others. On 15 February 2013, an extraordinarily large fireball, travelling at a speed of 18.6 kms per second, entered the atmosphere and disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia. According to NASA, the diameter of the asteroid was estimated at 18 meters and it’s mass at 11,000 tons. The total impact energy of the Chelyabinsk Fireball was 440 kilotons. 

In December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution declaring 30 June as Word Asteroid Day. The event 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.

What are Asteroids?

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. They are left over from the formation of our solar system approximately 46 billion years ago. Although, they orbit the Sun like planets, but are much smaller than the planets. No two asteroids are alike. They have jagged and irregular shapes. Most of the asteroids are made of different kinds of rocks, but some have clays or metals, such as nickel and iron. There are lots of asteroids in our solar system. Most of them live in the main asteroid belt—a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

International Asteroid Day 2023: Significance 

This day serves as a reminder of the devastating impact asteroids can have on Earth and highlights the incident of the 1908 Tunguska event and the Chelyabinsk event of 2013 in recorded history. The catastrophic impact of an asteroid on earth can understand from the fact that around 65 million years ago a chain reaction started by an asteroid impact led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and affected all life on Earth. It is also an ideal day to think of measures to save the planet from the hazardous effects of asteroids

Since asteroids formed at the same time as other objects in our solar system, these space rocks can give scientists lots of information about the history of planets and the sun. Scientists can learn about asteroids by studying meteorites: tiny bits of asteroids that have flown through our atmosphere and landed on Earth’s surface.

Five interesting Asteroid hit places on Earth to see

Meteor Crater, Arizona, USA

Meteor Crater is located in the Arizona desert and was formed by an asteroid impact around 50,000 years ago. It has a diameter of 1.2 kilometres and is one of the most well-preserved impact craters on Earth. The site offers a rare chance to learn about the science and history of asteroid impacts while surrounded by the breathtaking desert scenery. During the 1960s and 1970s, NASA astronauts trained in the crater to prepare for the Apollo missions to the Moon.

Sudbury Basin, Ontario, Canada

The Sudbury Basin, located in Ontario, Canada, is home to one of the oldest and third-largest asteroid impact craters on Earth.  This basin, which stretches over 130 kilometres, was formed approximately 1.85 billion years ago and is currently a highly valued mining site known for its abundant reserves of nickel, copper, and other minerals. NASA used the site to train the Apollo astronauts in recognizing rocks formed as the result of a very large impact, such as breccias.

Chicxulub Crater, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

The Chicxulub Crater is located under the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and is famous for its connection to the extinction of dinosaurs over 66 million years ago. This enormous crater, with a diameter of around 180 kilometres, provides essential insights into the history of our planet. The crater is estimated to be 180 km in diameter and 20 km in depth. It is the second largest confirmed impact structure on Earth, and the only one whose peak ring is intact and directly accessible for scientific research.

Ries Crater, Bavaria, Germany

The Ries Crater, situated in Bavaria, Germany, is an ancient impact structure that formed roughly 15 million years ago. With a diameter of about 25 kilometres, this well-preserved crater grants a unique perspective into the Earth's past. This site was also used to train Apollo 14 astronauts.

Gosses Bluff, Northern Territory, Australia

Gosses Bluff, or Tnorala, situated in the Australian Outback, is a circular feature formed by an asteroid impact around 142 million years ago. This crater is having a diameter of 24 kilometres. The Western Arrernte and Aboriginal people hold this site in high regard as it is a sacred place for them. Western Arrernte people attribute its origins to a cosmic impact.

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Published: 30 Jun 2023, 05:00 AM IST
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