Asteroid Day seeks to protect us from near-Earth threats


July 3, 2015

(CNN) – Imagine this: It’s early morning in 1908. A man sits at a trading post in Vanavara, Siberia, when he is suddenly launched into the air by a powerful force that creates an effect that makes him think his shirt has caught fire.

That was what the impact of an asteroid in Tunguska, more than 40 miles away, felt like, NASA said during the event’s 100th anniversary in 2008.

The Tunguska Event flattened more than 770 square miles of forest: That’s like wiping out seven cities the size of Orlando, Florida. That event, plus the film “51 Degrees North,” about a futuristic asteroid hitting the Earth and the consequences of the impact, inspired the creation of Asteroid Day.

The first observation of Asteroid Day is today, the anniversary of the day Tunguska was struck by an asteroid 107 years ago. The global event was created by astrophysicist Brian May, founding member and lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, and Lord Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal at the London Science Museum, to bring awareness and educate the world about asteroids.


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