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Why are we supporting Asteroid Day?

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This article was written by M. Martínez-Jiménez and J. M. Trigo-Rodríguez from the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC), Meteorites, Minor bodies and Planetary Science Group, Barcelona. J. M. Trigo-Rodríguez is an Asteroid Day supporter and organiser of the Asteroid Day Premier event in Barcelona, Spain.

 

IT IS ABOUT POPULARIZING ASTEROID SCIENCE AND IMPACT HAZARD

Asteroid Day is a global movement where people from around the world come together to give awareness of asteroids to the society. Thus, the aim of this annual ephemerid is to learn about asteroids, from the threat they represent to our Planet, to the study of these amazing bodies that can provide the clues for understanding the Solar System origin and evolution. Besides, recently, there is another branch that starts to be considered, which is mining mineral resources in asteroids, for example Platinum Group Elements (PGEs), as well as water for human life supply in space exploration. From the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC) in Barcelona we are dealing with the study of the physico-chemical properties and the dynamic origin of meteorites, our available asteroid-forming materials, to contribute to answer some of the open questions on these issues.

Our implication in the Asteroid Day movement started in 2015 with our involvement in the organization of a Barcelona double event: a scientific workshop dealing with hot topics in impact hazard, and an outreach talk given by Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque. These activities took place respectively in our research institute and in the Parc de Recerca de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). As a significant product of the 2015 scientific encounter, this year Springer will release a proceedings book titled “Assessment and Mitigation of Asteroid Impact Hazards” edited by J.M. Trigo-Rodríguez, Maria Gritsevich and Herbert Palme and to be published in the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings Series.

Why are we committed to celebrate this event every June 30th? Simply because we want to put a key reminder in our agenda: the anniversary of the Tunguska event, the largest contemporary asteroid impact recorded so far, which occurred in 1908 and devastated over 2000 km 2 of Siberian taiga. We are exposed to asteroid hazard as many other atmospheric explosions have been recorded since then. We now probably care more about this hazard because we start to be conscious: instrument sensitivity to detect them has improved considerably over the last decades, using different techniques. Also our ability to detect them has significantly increased. Telescopic surveys have achieved a quite complete database of Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) up to sizes larger than about 300 meters, and are constraining the population of bodies that suppose a direct risk to us. So far 1,706 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) have been discovered, being asteroids experiencing close approaches to the Earth and hence that are potentially threatening our planet. Unfortunately, this number only represents a small percent of the total number of objects that can strike Earth. Indeed, Earth-based surveys are not able to detect most bodies in determinate entry geometries (e.g. towards the direction of the Sun), and we still miss part of the high-inclination population. These are factors causing that some asteroids or extinct comets experiencing close approaches to Earth are discovered with just few weeks of margin. All these are reasons to claim for a dedicated infrared space telescope that can deal with the challenging properties of these bodies: low reflectivity, and larger impact velocities. In front of this, Asteroid Day claims people from all over the world to discuss and debate this important issue in order to rise the awareness about asteroid impacts.

With events like Chelyabinsk (~20 m diameter, 15th February 2013), where more than 1200 people were injured, it was demonstrated the significant power of a relatively small asteroid impact, and the big danger associated with its shock wave. Although statistics about asteroid size impacts in specific time scales are not clear since we have a short historic memory, it is expected that a Chelyabinsk-class impact happens few times per century.

Our research group has also identified that some PHAs can be sources of meter-sized projectiles, probably as consequence of the disruption of their weak structures that are characteristic of rubble piles during close approaches to the terrestrial planets. The success of the Stardust NASA mission to sample materials from comet 81P/Wild 2 promoted the development of space missions addressed to the exploration and sample return of minor bodies. The golden age of the exploration of asteroids has probably started with Hayabusa (JAXA) mission to asteroid 25143 Itokawa who was not only a great scientific achievement to understand rubble piles, but which also included successful sample return. That specific goal, bringing back to Earth pristine materials from undifferentiated bodies, will concentrate the efforts of the forthcoming Hayabusa 2 (JAXA) and OSIRIS-REx (NASA) missions addressed respectively to asteroids 162173 Ryugu and 101955 Bennu. Hopefully NASA and ESA will join soon efforts in the AIDA joint mission to binary asteroid 65803 Didymos. Such joint mission will test for the first time the kinetic impact techniques needed to deflect future asteroid close encounters with the Earth. Consequently, there is no doubt that we are living a new era in the exploration of Solar System minor bodies, and we want take part of this international movement. This year our contribution wants to popularize the AIDA mission in Spain, and our Barcelona event will include a round table about asteroid deflection techniques, and an open debate with the public after the invited conference describing AIDA by Michael Küppers (ESAC). We encourage you to join AD events worldwide for being part of this unique movement to save us from our grazing rocky neighbors. Really, it is time for action!

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DISCOVERY SCIENCE

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Asteroid Day media partner, Discovery Science, the only global network dedicated entirely to the wonders of science, launched “Countdown to Asteroid Day” aired globally in the lead up to June 30 events. On Asteroid Day, June 30th, Discovery Science is dedicating the entire day to asteroid programming, leading with two one-hour premiere titles: Man Vs. Asteroid: An Asteroid Day Special, and The Man Who Tweeted Earth, a profile of Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield. Discovery Science reaches 72 million US households and 97 million households  internationally across 159 countries and territories.

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LIVE STREAMS

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Happy Asteroid Day! Join us in the experience by tuning into all the great live stream events going on around the world. Asteroid Day is a locally organized effort with a growing number of live streams. Over last year, the live stream growth rate is testament to the hard work of Asteroid Day organisers around the world.  True to any kind of live event with live people there maybe last minute program adjusts and some technical difficulties.  Asteroid Day Global has no control over the local event programs.

Please note that our LIVE BLOG begins on June 29 at 5PM PST // 1AM BST (June 30) and the feature film 51º NORTH can now be watched for free, here.

Our partner, the European Space Agency is hosting an AMA on Reddit. The AMA will take place at 14:45 GMT / 16:45 CEST on reddit.com/r/IAmA (but will appear there only a few hours before it starts).

GMT/ UTC Time Zone Live Stream
Check your local listings The Man Who Tweeted Earth
Check your local listings Man Vs. Asteroid
11:00 Facebook Live with astronaut Dorin Prunariu powered by Discovery Romania
12:30 Facebook Live Coverage powered by ESA
13:00-16:30 Small Bodies Assessment Group powered by NASA (Requires code to login which is provided on the SBAG site)
13:45 Facebook Live Coverage powered by ESA ESTEC in the Netherlands, talking about our Asteroid Impact Candidate Mission
17:00-19:00 ESA live stream – a meeting with astronomers and experts on space missions
17:30 Asteroid Day Global interviews Debbie Lewis
18:00 Dante Lauretta, Professor of Planetary Science in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, interview with Asteroid Day Global
19:00 Intro Italian Stream
19:00 Astronaut Tom Jones powered by Virtual Telescope
19:30 Grig Richters powered by Virtual Telescope
19:30 Scott Manley from CalAcademy powered by B612 and Asteroid Day
19:45-22:00 Italian Virtual Telescope Live Stream – Il Regno degli Asteroidi scienza, storia e osservazioni online
20:30 Geoff Notkin from CalAcademy powered by B612 and Asteroid Day
21:15 Lynne Jones from CalAcademy powered by B612 and Asteroid Day
22:30 Scott Manley from CalAcademy powered by B612 and Asteroid Day
23:00 Live Stream powered by Slooh
23:00 “A Journey Across Near-Earth Asteroids: science, history, real-time observations”
23:10 Eric Christiensen from Catalina Sky Survey powered by Virtual Telescope
23:45 Mike Schwartz from Tenagra Obs powered by Virtual Telescope
24:00 Ed Lu, astronaut and Asteroid Day supporter, is giving a live interview with Slooh.
0:30 Asteroid Day expert Debbie Lewis powered Virtual Telescope
1:00 Jay Tate from The Spaceguard Centre powered by Virtual Telescope
1:00 Arecibo – “A Journey Across Near-Earth Asteroids: science, history, real-time observations”
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Event Characteristic for Success

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In 2015, our first year of celebrating Asteroid Day, we had two premier events, one in San Francisco and one in London. Now, the second year of Asteroid Day, we have six! Asteroid Day hopes the number of premier events increases each year as the global movement expands. Premier events get some important support from Asteroid Day.  First we use the Premier events in our press releases and our publications as great examples of locally organized events.  We are highly responsive to the Premier events because they have shown us they are strong and capable partners.

To be considered an Asteroid Day premier event, there are a few characteristics an event should demonstrate and actions an event organiser generally takes to execute a successful event. First and foremost, all events should be registered on http://events.asteroidday.org. An event should be listed with detailed event information (or a link to a detailed program), photos, a program, and contact information. Event organisers should engage in regular communication with the Asteroid Day team, sharing information in advance about the event, and publication of activities that demonstrates advance planning. We highly encourage and expect premier events to send photos and videos before and after the event along with press mentions. Organisers should post their photos and videos online and provide some content on their event listings to us so we can post or repost online. These visual and program details are important for the Asteroid Day team when writing blog posts to promote events or when sending out PR alerts to the public. We are looking for groups that seek press and use social media to let their community know about their event. Whether they are one person or whole organization, it’s’ about making sure the public can find your event. All event organisers can take steps and actions to transform their event into a premier-status event.

We put two events side-by-side to demonstrate examples of events which met the characteristics of what we imagined would be premier events. One example is a returning Asteroid Day event, hosted in Chile, which took a national approach to Asteroid Day by creating events throughout their country and how their efforts moved them up to be a Premier Asteroid Day event this year. The other event we wanted to share is an upcoming local events in Måløv, Denmark, that we consider as a possible premier event candidate for next year’s Asteroid Day in 2017.

We highlighted how each event met the characteristics Asteroid Day believes makes a great local event partner to this global effort. Asteroid Day would not be possible without the local event organisers and their extraordinary efforts. There are so many great events going on all over the world on June 30th, and we hope many event organisers will work towards becoming premier event partners to Asteroid Day.

Category Characteristic National Local
Chile (Returning Event) Denmark (New Event)
Context:
Scale of Asteroid Day Event 17 national events in collaboration with 15 institutions the country of Chile 2 events collaboration with 3 institution in Måløv, Denmark
Leveraged a Network An astronomical research center, leveraged their connections with other institutions to create a network of events across the country on Asteroid Day in 2015 & 2016. One enthusiastic individual created two

Asteroid Day events, one more relaxing event showing the film 51 Degrees North. And the other more scientific in

practice, in collaboration with NEOShield-2 and his local library for the general public.

Program:
Created Audience Engagement as part of the program(s) Chile had many events across their country but an example of engagement includes their “Asteroid Day’s Short Story Contest” Students from all parts of Chile were invited to face an exciting new challenge: to write a story in only 108 words commemorating the 108 year anniversary of the Tunguska event. At the Denmark event hosted in collaboration with the library, there is a reserved time for a little break to enjoy toast and ice cream at Café Iglo. This is the Prize give-away for guests who say they’re attending the Asteroid Day event. There will also be a raffle with some astro-prices.
Utilized the right caliber of speakers for anticipated audience Through their national network of institutions Chile leveraged higher academic educational speakers as well as kid-friendly programs and activities as part of their program, held in multiple regions across the country. Denmark’s organizer made use of our expert panel by inviting one of them to participate via Skype. The organiser himself has also some scientific background, and has also been an active amateur observer of asteroids. He has also done some kid-friendly space-outreach activities.
Documented program details clearly and made information available
( on their website or events.asteroidday.org)
Provided a list of the 15 institutions involved each has an event page and website.  The various organizations had different level of published information but many had a webpage for their unique event.  Created event page for many of the events  at events.asteroidday.org The Denmark organizer provided name, context, and background information on all speakers presenting. He created event pages for each event on Asteroid Day website and mentioned his collaboration with Airbus Defence & Space, NEOShield-2,  DTU Space, Catalina Sky Survey, and Lunar & Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, etc.
Communications:
Engaged in regular communications with Asteroid Day team
(Timeliness in communications and publication of activities that demonstrates advance planning)
Contacted events@asteroidday.org  with updates on their events and were very responsive to emails sent out. Introduced themselves to the events communication manager and explained their plan for Asteroid Day. Always provided details about his events, with links to his event page for reference. Asked questions and got in contact with events@asteroidday.org in advance for resources such as the film 51 Degrees North. He also contacted an Asteroid Day Expert Panel member.
Submitted photos before event

(to their events.asteroiday.org listing and emailed events@asteroidday.org )

Submitted posters of their event program and promotional tools.
Submitted photos and videos after event

(to their events.asteroiday.org listing and emailed events@asteroidday.org )

Sent photos and video after their event last year along with press mentions.
Promotion:
Utilized Social Media Very active on Facebook. Posted a status every day about their progress leading up to Asteroid Day. Active on Twitter and Facebook. Created Facebook event for his Asteroid Day event.Tweeted about his events using #AsteroidDay as well as retweeted Asteroid Day tweets. He also made his own YouTube video to better engage the public and to promote his events.
Issued a press release Sent us a copy and link to the press release for their event and of the short story contest. View it, here. Contacted his local newspaper and an

independent radio station of national coverage.

 

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Open Source Presentation

Cover of Quest of Asteroids

We are proud to announce that you can now access Asteroid Day’s in-depth open source asteroid Powerpoint presentation titled “Quest for Asteroids”. The presentation was a collaborative effort between Asteroid Day’s partners and Asteroid Day Expert Panel members and was developed to support our locally organised Asteroid Day events worldwide and the general public.

This scientifically reviewed and comprehensive presentation has over 200 slides and content that are intended to be mixed and matched for your locally organized event to use. Material varies from the fascinating quest of asteroids, to educational science, to Gravity Tractor information, content on asteroid detection and deflection, and tons more! This education tool can be used for all ages.

Please note this is a very large file that contains dozens of movie files.  So downloading from a stable internet connection is recommended. There is also a PDF version that is a smaller file size but will not contain movie files.

This presentation is licensed by Asteroid Day under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license to our locally organized Asteroid Day events and Asteroid Day supporters worldwide for non commercial use only.

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Public Relations & Promotions Toolkit

PR STUFF
Asteroid Day has published and released a PR and Promotions Toolkit! This toolkit provides an outline on how to personally promote your event. The layout allows you, as the event organizer, to customize each PR section by simply inserting your event’s information. The toolkit includes a Press Release template, shares key messages for Asteroid Day and any media interview, sample emails and newsletter you can send out to your community, and so much more!

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Customize Your Event

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The Asteroid Day event at Western University has taken the official Asteroid Day logo and customized it to fit their event. This is an AWESOME example of what you, as an event organizer, can do to promote your local Asteroid Day event. Make your own customized logo and share is with us using #AsteroidDay

Event link: http://events.asteroidday.org/event/cronyn-observatory-1151-richmond-street-london-ontario-canada-n6a-3k7-asteroid-day-at-western-university/

Tweet: https://twitter.com/tanyaofmars/status/745722135637819392

 

 

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Scientists Rock – An Asteroid Day Series!

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Asteroid Day proudly presents the debut of a seven-part film series subtitled in 15 different languages and an introduction by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium. The video series brings to light the origins of Asteroid Day and the importance of asteroid detection, deflection, asteroid characterization, and having an emergency response plan. Each episode is different and gives insight to why asteroid impact awareness is critical.

  • Episode 1: Launching Asteroid Day introduces us to the people and vision behind Asteroid Day, a growing global awareness movement where people from around the world are coming together to learn about asteroids, the hazards they may pose, and how we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations.
  • Episode 2: Detection. Employing existing and new technologies to detect and track asteroids and demonstrating deflection capabilities to prevent future asteroid impacts could be one of humanity’s greatest achievements in protecting our planet. Episode 2 explores the topic of asteroid detection, where scientists, astronauts, and asteroid experts discuss what’s known about the NEO population and Earth’s impact history, and why asteroid detection is the critical first step. We can’t stop what we can’t see.
  • Episode 3: Deflection. Asteroid Day experts talk about the importance of developing deflection strategies and various methods of response, from the Gravity Tractor to the ESA mission AIM. The unifying theme is that the more we learn about all of these objects, test and evaluate, the more we can be prepared for a possible impact or prevent it from happening. When you want to interact with such a body and try to deflect it, it can be very tricky, so testing is essential.
  • Episode 4: Characterisation. When a survey discovers an asteroid, we try to characterise the object from its orbital elements. When dealing with near-Earth objects beyond the orbital elements, we need to find out how fast it is rotating, what it’s made out of, and what are its surface properties. Did Asteroids bring the minerals and water to create life on Earth and also have the ability to end it?
  • Episode 5: Emergency Response. Asteroid impacts are serious risks and we need to be prepared for an impact large enough to destroy civilization or small enough to devastate a city. Asteroid Day experts provide insight into asteroid emergency response, deflection mission timing, and the importance of having contingency plans pre-designed.
  • Episode 6: Politics. When experts working in the field of planetary defense determine that an asteroid threat is emerging, decisions must be made on how to act and how to communicate this threat to the public. Governments are traditionally challenged to make those decisions quickly. Global awareness and communication of where asteroids are, their properties and where they are headed is vital to designing a comprehensive planetary defense strategy.
  • Episode 7: Amateur Asteroid Hunters share their experiences and how asteroid detection information is becoming more accessible for amateurs to observe, follow up and refine orbits and measurements. Citizen scientists play an essential role in expanding the planetary defense community.

The series celebrates the work of asteroid experts, scientists, astronauts, and policymakers, with interviews with Mark Boslough, Stephen Hawking, Ed Lu, Bill Nye, Patrick Michel, Lynne Jones, Lord Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, and Carolyn Shoemaker. It also highlights upcoming missions to search for and study near-Earth asteroids: Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission, a joint project of ESA and NASA; OSIRIS-REx, NEOCam and Hayabusa2.

The video series can be found on YouTube, or you download the videos and access subtitles with instructions on how to use them, here.

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Spread the Word!

AD TWITTER

TWEET1Join us in our social media campaign. Snap a photo and upload it to Instagram, shoot a video, tweet about your event, share your Asteroid Day location on Facebook, and publicize it on your social media with the hashtag #asteroidday

The Guardian is conducting live coverage on Asteroid Day. They will be picking up photos and videos from events that are using the hashtag #AsteroidDay on social media.  So encourage your team and the public and whomever is attending your events to post online.  The Guardian will be live blogging, in real time.  It would be fantastic if your event could share photos and video content with us using the hashtag #AsteroidDay

 

#AsteroidDay on Twitter

  • Please tweet this message, or personalize it.  Tweets cannot exceed 140 characters and ideally, should include the link to our website www.asteroidday.org and the hashtag #AsteroidDay OR the Twitter handle @asteroidday.
  • Sample Tweets

 

In General:

  • Please “retweet” from our Twitter site, @AsteroidDay account
  • Please “retweet” our messages about the 7-part film series
  • Please retweet our messages about scores of local events
  • Please bring your friends and colleagues into the conversation! If you have celebrity or other friends with a large number of Twitter followers, please engage them with one of these tweets and ask them to retweet!
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