The United Nations (UN)’s International Asteroid Day is annually observed across the world on 30th June 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 (NEO) threat.
i. In December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution, A/RES/71/90 and proclaimed the 30th June of every year as the International Asteroid Day.
ii. The observance of the day was based on a proposal by the Association of Space Explorers, which was endorsed by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
iii. The first-ever International Asteroid Day was observed on 30th June 2017.
Asteroid Day was co-founded by Dr Brian May, an astrophysicist and famed musician of the rock group Queen; Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut; Grig Richters, filmmaker; and Danica Remy, President of B612 Foundation to educate the public about the importance of asteroids and so on
Why June 30?
30th June marks the anniversary of the Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event, which occurred on 30th June 1908.
Siberia Tunguska event:
Siberia Tunguska event, a massive 12-megaton explosion that happened near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate of Eastern Siberia (Current Krasnoyarsk Krai) in Russia.
What Is an Asteroid?
Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.
Near-Earth Objects (NEO): A Near-Earth Object is an asteroid or comet which passes close to the Earth’s orbit, which represents potentially catastrophic threats to our planet.
UN and Outer Space:
i. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has worked on NEO, recognising a NEO impact hazard as a global issue demanding an international response.
ii. UNOOSA works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space, and in the utilisation of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development.
About United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA):
Note: Aarti Holla-Maini appointed as Director of UNOOSA on 28th June 2023.
Established in- 13 December 1958
UNOOSA Acting Director- Niklas Hedman
Headquarters- Vienna- Austria