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Asteroid Day at provides opportunity to learn about near-Earth space

Asteroid Day at provides opportunity to learn about near-Earth space

  • Brittany Hamor | Courtesy photo

Mueller Planetarium will show “Firefall” and “B612 Sentinel Program” after the speeches. Intended for all audiences ages four and older, the event will also include snacks and beverages.

Magilton and the College of Law’s main focus is the logistics. Magilton poses the question “If research funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) leads to the prevention of a major impact in China, what are the international implications financially, politically and legally?”

“The ESA is currently developing a preliminary mission called the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM.),” Magilton said. “AIM would travel to a binary asteroid system and perform high-resolution visual, thermal and radar mapping and build detailed maps of surface and interior structure. If approved, AIM would also be Europe’s contribution to the larger Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission: AIDA. AIDA is a collaboration between ESA and NASA. It is a technology demonstration of the kinetic impactor concept to deflect a small asteroid and to characterize its physical properties. AIDA is composed of the projectile called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) and an observer satellite called AIM, each under study by NASA and ESA, respectively.”

These are just two of the current missions being developed to better understand asteroids. Mapping the structure of asteroids allows time to determine how we may stop one on a collision course.

According to its website, “Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities and future generations from future asteroid impacts. Asteroid Day is observed each year on June 30th, the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.”

“The most important focus currently is on detection,” Magilton said. “With our current telescope capabilities, we are only able to detect a very small number of asteroids that may be near Earth. We can’t protect ourselves from what we don’t know exists.”

Asteroids are the only natural disaster we know how to predict and prevent. It is critical to bring awareness to Asteroid Day because there is a possibility of more than 1 million asteroids that can impact the Earth, according to the Asteroid Day website. Scientists have discovered only about one percent of the asteroids using all of the worldwide telescopes.

“Asteroid represents humanity’s growing awareness of the opportunities and hazards that exist in near-Earth space.” said University of Arizona professor of planetary science Dante Lauretta, in a press release. “Our future depends on our ability to identify, characterize and ultimately travel to these asteroids.”

The power of the voices not only builds public space programs but will boost investments toward private space companies.

“Space policy and governance matters,” said Magilton. “As we deal with very real and very immediate political issues every day, it is easy to push space to the back of our minds as less important. The reality is, it’s of the utmost importance to human survival. The next earth altering impact could come in 2 million years or in 2 minutes – are we ready?”

Contact the writer: brittanyhamor@gmail.com

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