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June 29 – July 5, 2020 / Vol 39, No 26 / Hawai`i Island, USA

26 Jun 2020, 19:52 UTC
June 29 – July 5, 2020 / Vol 39, No 26 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Asteroid Day Celebrated Internationally June 30; DART Asteroid Mission Target Named
Fascination, fear and ambition are human attributes provoked by Asteroids – rocky, atmosphere-free planetoids officially designated ‘Small Solar System Bodies’ per IAU. NASA counts 958,881 asteroids and 23,013 NEOs, of which 9,164 are >140 m in diameter – largely via Steward Observatory Catalina Sky Survey and IfA Pan-STARRS on Haleakala. ESA Planetary Defense is managed by Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre, located in Italy, while international collaboration is fostered through International Asteroid Warning Network and Space Mission Planning Advisory Group. June 30 commemorates the most impactful asteroid in recorded history, the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event which flattened trees over 2,150 km2. Recognizing the existential threat Asteroids pose to life on Earth as well as the promise of scientific advancement and resources, a disparate group of intrepid futurists including Rusty Schweickart, Danica Remy, Brian May, and Grigorij Richter declared Asteroid Day in 2014, gaining formal UN recognition in 2016. ESA and NASA are collaborating on Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment, set for 2021 launch, in which the orbit of newly-named Dimorphos – satellite of Didymos – will be affected by the kinetic energy of NASA DART spacecraft and later analyzed by ...

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