Asteroid Day Takes Aim at Our Cosmic Blind Spot: Threats From Above
Scientists and spacefliers will be focusing attention on near-Earth objects when the first-ever Asteroid Day plays out on Tuesday — not so much to raise money, but to raise awareness about the potential threat from above and what to do about it.
That last part is the hard part, says Tom Jones, a planetary scientist and former NASA astronaut who’s an adviser for Asteroid Day. He told NBC News that the biggest consciousness-raiser hit us two years ago, in the form of a nuclear-scale meteor blast that shook the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.
“That was a crystallizing event for people who hadn’t been paying attention to the asteroid threat,” Jones said. “Chelyabinsk isn’t in the news cycle anymore, but I don’t think the public has lost sight of the idea that we are repeatedly struck by asteroids.”