Asteroids leaving the spotlight? No way!

Asteroids passing Earth

An artist’s concept shows asteroids zooming past Earth (NASA / Asteroid Day Illustration)

By Chelsey Ballarte and Alan Boyle

NASA may be closing down its grand plan to study a piece of an asteroid up close, but the researchers who focus on near-Earth objects aren’t turning their backs on massive space boulders.

They say it’s just a matter of time before we’ll be forced to head off a threatening asteroid. On Friday, they’ll be calling attention to the challenge — and what scientists and activists are doing to address it.

For the past two years, the organizers of Asteroid Day have focused on June 30 as a time to turn an international spotlight on planetary defense. The date marks the anniversary of the Tunguska explosion, a presumed asteroid strike that destroyed half a million acres of forest in Siberia in 1908.

This year, with the United Nations’ encouragement, 190 countries around the world are planning a total of more than 700 Asteroid Day events, ranging from planetarium shows and virtual reality tours to a 24-hour streaming video marathon.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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