The Millennium Institute of Astrophysics MAS and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Universidad Católica, both based in Santiago, Chile, are organising a new, second edition of their Asteroid Day short stories contest on June 30 after a successful start last year.
A Successful First Year
More than 200 Chilean primary and secondary school students participated in 2016: They all wrote short fiction or non-fiction stories about asteroids. Two students from Santiago and Coronel won the first place in their respective categories and took home a Galileoscope kit to undertake astronomical observations for their first time and experience the universe.
Second Edition of the Contest
In 2017, the short stories contest is back to celebrate Asteroid Day. Once again, the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics MAS and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Universidad Católica IAUC took the lead in organising the contest in partnership with Universidad de Santiago’s Planetarium. Primary school (from 3rd to 8th grade) and secondary school (from 1st to 4th grade) students from all over Chile are invited to send in a short, 109-word story about asteroids, reflecting on how humankind can be saved in case of an asteroid impact. Another topic they can choose from is the efforts taken to stop an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. They are free to choose the style of their story which can be fictional or based on true facts.
The idea of the 109-word-limit goes back to the Tunguska event: June 30, 2017 marks the 109th anniversary of the airburst of an asteroid measuring 35 meters in diameter that affected an area of more than 2,000 km2 in a remote forest area near the Tunguska river in Siberia. The same event that led to the inception of Asteroid Day on June 30.
For Alejandro Clocchiatti, a researcher at MAS and IAUC and main promoter of the Asteroid Day events in Chile, the idea of these activities is to raise awareness of the potential danger of an asteroid striking the Earth and to make young people to reflect on this matter. “The idea is not to scare them, but to make them think about how we can be better prepared for these natural events that have happened and will continue happening,” he explains.
The Asteroid Day short stories contest is open from May 12 to June 9. Entries can be submitted online via this form. All the information regarding the contest’s rules, terms and conditions, jury and prizes is available at the official Asteroid Day Chile website and at the MAS’ website where you can also find further details about all the activities organised coming June 30 by national institutions. The activities are led and coordinated by MAS, which was appointed as local coordinator for this region by Asteroid Day Global currently based in Luxembourg.