Asteroid Day Updates

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Asteroid Day August Competition – Your Questions answered by the Experts


In August 2016, as part of the Asteroid Day August Update Episode, we ran a competition asking you to submit your best asteroid Questions via Twitter. Below are all the Questions and Answers. The answers were provided by ESA’s AIM Mission team and were posted on Twitter. That’s why the Answers are very short. You can also read all the answers on Twitter, here.


Question by @CaptainTrivial:
“Any thought to studying asteroid microbial life? By deflecting asteroids we would be saving unique microbial populations.”

No microbial life is expected to be found on asteroids.

Question by @queensketch:
“Can the composition of an asteroid affect the danger of it and how can do it ?”

Metallic asteroids are more likely to survive atmospheric re-entry so they are the more dangerous ones.

“From where come the asteroids, you know their composition?”

To a certain extend we relate asteroids to meteorites and we guess their composition.

Question by the Winner, @musiclaneit:
“How asteroids and their observation can be useful in science? What can we learn?”

Answer (Video by Asteroid Day Expert and Planetary Scientist, Patrick Michel):

Question by @DocSocDotCom:
“Comet: lower probability but higher consequence?”

Yes, typically they have more energy, therefore if one was ever discovered on a collision course, it would be more dangerous than an asteroid.

Question by @kd7uiy:
“What type of asteroid would be the most profitable to mine?”

Metallic asteroids and water rich asteroids for propellants.

Question by @Calvido_ & @3DbyElisa:
“If the Moon’s orbit was disrupted by an asteroid, what consequences would it have on Earth?”

No asteroid would ever be able to disrupt the moon’s orbit.

Question by @diofantos82:
“How are the orbits of asteroids close to Earth affected by Earth’s gravitation?”

The earth can act like a slingshot and change the trajectory of close by asteroids.

Question by @k_nord:
“If an alien civilization is so tech. advanced that they become the planet (organically), how will we be able to detect them?”

Please ask the SETI Institute

Question by the runner-up @diofantos82:
“How big must an asteroid be to survive the atmosphere, and hit Earth?”

It depends on the composition, no magic number but let’s say higher than 15m diameter.

Question by @DTristan200:
“Will an actual redirect mission happen as soon as possible or would we wait till it is in the most efficient place in orbit?”

Very good question, many parameters involved follow the link subject to long years disputation link planetary defends conference 2015.

Question by @Obscene:
“How do you get the satellite into a capture orbit around an asteroid given the reduced gravitational effects?”

Not so different from what rosetta did, maybe simpler because no coma is present.

Question by @Astraer_media:
“If an asteroid was close enough to catch, would it have any hazardous effects on earth if we orbited it around us?”

No, we could even go and mine it

Question by @YSGamingJosh:
“If in the case of a ‘killer asteroid’ would the plan used in the film Armageddon actually have any chance of saving us?”

No, probably the explosion would cause more damage than other techniques

Question by @bobev18:
“Can we utilize #CubeSat or some other micro sat concept to improve the sensitivity of asteroid detection cubesat”

Tech is not there yet but minisat yes!

Question by @iOwnLegions:
“What year will Mining on Asteroids be possible&will miners suffer from Necronomicon Monolith Hallucinations”

We should definitely ask this to Dott. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, but no connection now with the enterprise

Question by @LeopardsX:
:Is the universe still expanding, slowing or speeding down or going to contact back on its self?”

A good one for @ProfBrianCox

Question by @vosechu:
“How does an enthusiastic person get involved with the project?”

Many of us would like to volunteer or donate.

Question by @TriniQueenie:
“Why Is world so un aware ofAsteroid Impact danger?”

Asteroid day is trying to fix this.

Question by @antoramirex:
“Can the momemtum of the asteroid rotation break apart the rock?”


Question by @janek468:
“Is it possible to bring asteroid to Earth orbit and create second moon?”

Nasa’s trying to do it on the moon check ARM

Question by @Kngr89:
“How an Astroid born and die, and there’s a plan to avoid the collision of an asteroid on earth?”

Asteroids are remanants of solar system formation we are working on aim to avoid impact

Question by @QueenieOfNorway:
“How early can we detect harmful asteroids now?”

Depends on size, albedo and orbit

Question by @architechnid:
“If we found an asteroid on trajectory to impact Earth, what would be the minimum lead time we would need to be able to fix it?”

Depends on size, energy, few years would typically be enough

Question by @architechnid:
“Is there a way to increase our ability to find asteroids using democratized technologies, like cubesats?”

Cubesats not quite there yet but will be soon, many amateur telescopes can help from ground.

Question by @AubreyWhymark:
“Should we have laws to restrict changing the orbit of an asteroid during future mining operations in order to protect the Earth?”

Interesting debate for @Uncopus @simonettadippo

Question by @Jimmendenhall:
“Some say we have all the water already on the earth, but can new ice filled objects still come and add more?

The water content from an object would be negligible

Question by @MillerKevinG:
“If an apparently threatening asteroid were discovered, could you accelerate the mission to determine efficacy sooner?”

Not faster than aim

Question by @jack88queen:
“Is there a chance to find a form of life on an asteroid?

VERY unlikely

Question by @Levitikai:
“When we find an asteroid heading toward Earth, how can we use it to our advantage instead of just pushing it away?”

In such a case we wouldn’t probably take any chance.

Question by @Helena_2910:
“What can be done 2 raise awareness of asteroid threat?”

Support Asteroid day

Question by @claudiobadger:
“Is there a breakpoint between asteroids discovery and planning of an active reaction plan for Earth defence?”

Yes, key question discussed by Planetary Defence Conference experts

Question by @un_nain_connue:
“Does asteroïds from our solar system has a high concentration of heavy metals or is it just the ones near supernovas that does?”

Metallic asteroids can be anywhere in the solar system.

Question by @ElisabethFryden:
“Could an asteroid destroy or harm Mars & Venus? Very close mars encounter a few years ago, didn’t arm, risk of destruction?”

Very unlikely

Question by @ElisabethFryden:
“Could an asteroid knock the moon out of orbit???”


Question by @GwynJohnson4:
“How many Asteroids over 1km have a close Earth orbital approach?”

None of this size discovered with close approach

Question by @SteTheBeast24:
“What is the smallest size asteroid that would be able to cause a global extinction event.”

A global extinction would probably need to be a large 3-5 km asteroid; we are not aware of such a threat in the near future.

Question by @CEngelbrecht91:
“How small of an asteroid can we see? What’re the chances that a small one will impact us before we can resolve it?”

It happened in 2013 with Chelyabinsk, that’s why we push for asteroid day

Question by @borderesgabriel:
“Most asteroids are made of what material?”

Rocks and metals

Question by @giancarlocalo:
“May be the gravitational influence of Jupiter the reason why asteroids have different orbits?”

Partially Yes, but also other planets’

Question by @purplesfinx:
“Were Asteroids mentioned/detected Before Christ?”

First asteroid officially detected in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi in sicily/Palermo

Question by @PrinceVanF:
“Is there a way to tag asteroids in the Asteroid Belt for future mining expeditions?”

Yes with robotic missions but it’s very expensive

Question by @_Diaspro_:
“Which are main differences between #AIMMission and Nasa’s Deep Impact mission, other than target type and the use of a rover?”

No deflection measurement with deep impact, same technique no rover on aim.

Question by @victorz25:
“Will the Dart impact of dydimoon can throw Mascot lander back to space?”

Most likely not, hang on tight @Mascot!

Question by @KymYSmith:
“Is “”target”” asteroid a typical one? Will the mission give a good indication that they *can* be deflected?”

Dydimoon is highlt representative of a typical potential threat.

Question by @eloycam2012:
“The impact will have any perceptible effect?”

Yes, this is way Aim will be there on the front seat, (and measure the 0,5mm/s expected velocity change).”

Question by @DiabulusInGaia_:
“When you saw your first asteroid?”

Personally, haven’t observed one myself yet

Question by @Astro_Adept:
“How far do you think routinely being able to collect water from an asteroid is? What challenges need to be solved?”

Good question for @deepspaceindustries @planetaryresourcesincorporates

Question by @JareelSkaj:
“What is planned for AIM after the impact? In a long term will it remain orbiting the asteroid or crash-land like Rosetta?”

Probably like Rosetta

Question by @SerbianInfidel:
“Can this mission help us understand preconditions effects of impacts like the one that lead to dinosaurs extinction?”

Yes, absolutely

Question by @Stensen0000:
“Can nets be used to capture and divert incoming asteroids, perhaps even to drag them back for mining resources?”

Bags have been considered by Nasa, but now a gripper looks like a better option.

Question by @jotace1965:
“If we can install the proper equipments, could we use an asteroid like a solar system probe?”

Concept study by DARPA #pimpmyasteroid

Question by @dantabberner:
“If at all possible in 20/50/100 years what would be the prime methods for asteroid capture?”

Nasa is looking at bags and grippers

Question by @CarstenKrege:
“Did you read @nealstephenson’s book Seveneves? When will mankind be able to put an asteroid or comet in earthorbit?”

On my reading list!

Question by @eumateix:
“Why has Didymos been chosen as target? Due to his year of approach (2022), distance, being a pair, ….?”

All of the above! It’s just the perfect experiment target heck here

Question by @Christos_Marazo:
“Can asteroids carry new elements unknown to humanity? is there any previous example?”

Unknown, but asteroids encounters always carried surprises!

Question by @CarstenKrege:
“Where will the receiver be located for the optical communication with AIM? On earth? Will the optical link be the only link?”

Both terminals can transmit and receive one on aim one on tenerife. We also have RF link.

Question by @CarstenKrege:
“Is the DART impactor specifically designed for the impact? Would you actually aim at a specific location of didymoon?”

It has the dart shape of a spacecraft probe but uses a large telescope for final targeting. As close as possible to its center.

Question by @CarstenKrege:
“In case AIM gets lost before DART arrives.. would you still be able to detect the change of didymoon’s orbit from remote?”

Yes, DART mission is also independenet from aim. Impact can be observed on ground but aim would get much more details

Question by @MilyLeChatNoir:
“If space exploration were to develop in the (not so far) future, would the asteroids be a threat to human spaceships?”

If you mean like this , the answer is no

Question by @LukeHasler12:
“We all seem to believe that is was an asteroid collision that wiped out the dinosaurs but are there any other likely causes?”

Better ask to a paleontologist

Question by @Astrocupola:
“What kind of information will provide the instruments on board the probes and how will be useful for future missions?”

Long ansewr short is: the knowledge of the deep interior structure of the asterorid, fundamental for deflection
@ca6b96ae6d274a3 my #AIMMission question is: how far away is commercial asteroid mining? Good question for @deepspaceindustries @planetaryresourcesincorporates

Question by @corsaro4j:
“How can a probe approach an asteroid safely without experiencing the classic gravitational pull of a planet?”

All bodies in the solar system not matter how small generate a gravitation pull, so the probe will always feel it.

Question by @paulmallet:
“What are the main reasons we can’t predict exactly if an #asteroid will or will not impact earth ?”

Any uncertainties in our models. Some parameters explained here:

Question by @Raffo84:
“Assume we find an asteroid on impact w/ earth in ~250 years. Do we already plan an #AIMMission for that, or look for closer encounters?”

We look for closer encounters

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Asteroid Day UpdatesVideo

Asteroid Day Update – Feat Scott Manley and Jill Tarter from SETI Institute – August 2016

You may have already seen it but in case you haven’t, we are proud to collaborate with Astronogamer Scott Manley on this new monthly video series – Asteroid Day Update – where he talks about asteroids and astronomy with supporters of the 100x Asteroid Day declaration. This month he sat down with the legendary astronomer Jill Tarter, one of the great pioneers of SETI. You might remember the Jodie Foster movie Contact, well Jodie Foster’s character was based on Jill.

The character of Dr. Arroway was modeled after two of the pioneering radio astronomers of the 1930s and 1940s, Grote Reber and John Kraus; both men were ham radio operators at an early age. Another model for the character’s work was real-life SETI researcher Jill Cornell Tarter.

Brian_May_aim-shirtThe plan with Asteroid Day Update is to bring you one fresh episode each month. Our partner, the European Space Agency is giving away a special edition #AIMMission t-shirt each month signed by our co-founder and Queen guitarist Dr. Brian May. Just ask an asteroid related question using #AIMMission on Twitter and the best question will be answered by an asteroid expert in next month’s episode. As we are doing this series for you it would be great if you could give us some feedback in the comments below or via social media.

Special Thanks to Scott Manley who did a great job with the first episode and to Jill Tarter for taking the time for the interview and thank you for watching and for being an important part of this wonderful global movement!


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World Space Week joins forces with Asteroid Day

WSW2016 banner x

We are very excited to join forces with World Space Week and we encourage you to host an event this year between October 4-10.

On October 8, Space Lectures hosts Captain Mark Kelly and NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly at Carleton Community High School in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Find more World Space Week UK events:


What is World Space Week?

World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year from October 4-10. These dates commemorate two events:

  • October 4, 1957: Launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, thus opening the way for space exploration
  • October 10, 1967: The signing of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activites of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.


Find out more about World Space Week, here.

Register an event for World Space Week, here.

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Screen the film 51 Degrees North at your event and watch for free on June 30!

Our story began in February 2014 when Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist and famed guitarist for the rock band QUEEN, began working with Grigorij Richters, the director of a new film titled 51 Degrees North, a fictional story of an asteroid impact on London and the resulting human condition. May composed the music for the film and suggested that Richters preview it at Starmus, an event organized by Dr. Garik Israelian and attended by esteemed astrophysicists, scientists and artists, including Dr. Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Rick Wakeman. The result was the beginning of discussions that would lead to the launch of Asteroid Day in 2015. It is now 2016 and event organizers have the opportunity to view and screen 51 Degrees North at their local Asteroid Day event for free.

The film introduces Damon Miller, a filmmaker grappling with the pressures of an impoverished profession and a dissolving relationship. One routine assignment will change his life as he is involved in the disturbing research into Near-Earth Objects.

The film brings asteroid awareness into the realm of entertainment, suitable for all global Asteroid Day events. The film is available in English, Czech, French, Hungarian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Polish. This also includes subtitles in: Arabic, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Swedish. To gain access to the film to screen at your event, send in your film request to Additionally, the film will be available on Asteroid Day for 24 hours on our website for anyone to enjoy, free of charge!

More details about the film, here.

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Volunteers needed to create subtitles for an Asteroid Day special


Dear All,

We are working on a very special Asteroid Day video series which will be released as part of this year’s Asteroid Day campaign. We are looking for volunteers to create subtitles from English to (languages listed below). The series features many of our supporters and top asteroid experts and is about 12 minutes long. You will receive the English text on/around June 10 and we need to receive your translation (latest) by June 21. This is unpaid. Looking for volunteers only.

Please email:

Languages we need:

  • Arabic
  • Hindi
  • Japanese

We already found wonderful volunteers who are currently translating the series into: Chinese, Czech, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portugese, Russian and Spanish.

Thank you,

Grig Richters

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Tim Peake marks 1 month till Asteroid Day with a tweet from space

To mark 1 month till Asteroid Day 2016 (June 30), ESA astronaut Tim Peake sent two beautiful pictures back to Earth showing Canada’s 210 million year old Manicouagan impact crater. Thanks to our Photographer-in-Residence, Max Alexander, for helping Tim with the shots.

Max says: “I am delighted that Tim Peake has tweeted pictures of another impact crater taken from the International Space Station, with a shout-out to Asteroid Day, and their partnership with the European Space Agency. The impact crater is outlined by Lake Manicouagan, and is a massive 100 km across – about the distance from London to Portsmouth. It may also have been a mass extinction event, like the impact at Chicxulub, Mexico.”


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