Every year on June 30th, the United Nations recognises International Asteroid Day as a campaign to increase awareness of asteroids, their possible threat to our planet, and the scientific mysteries that can be learned by researching them. This day is commemorated to motivate, engage, and educate people on the benefits and dangers of asteroids.
The 113th anniversary of the greatest recorded asteroid impact, which had occurred near the Tunguska River in Russia’s Siberia, falls on International Asteroid Day this year.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared June 30 as World Asteroid Day in December 2016, to ‘remember the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia each year at the international level’ and to ‘increase public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard.’
Asteroids are ‘rocky relics left behind from the early formation of our Solar System around 4.6 billion years ago,’ according to NASA. There are currently 1,097,106 asteroids that have been discovered. Asteroids are distinct from meteors, which are small bits of mass that penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere as a streak of light.
‘The only significant meteoroid entry into Earth’s atmosphere in contemporary history with eyewitness accounts was the Tunguska event,’ NASA adds. This meteor landed in a distant section of Siberia but didn’t make it all the way to the ground. Instead, it exploded a few miles up in the air.
‘The only significant meteoroid entry into Earth’s atmosphere with eyewitness testimonies in modern history was the Tunguska catastrophe,’ NASA states. This meteor landed in a remote section of Siberia, but it didn’t make it all the way to the earth. Instead, it went off a few miles above the ground, exploding in the air.
‘The blast was powerful enough to bring down trees throughout a region hundreds of miles wide… Hundreds of reindeer were slaughtered in the area.’