The World observes June 30th as World Asteroid Day. This year the day falls on Wednesday. In this article, you will read about Asteroids, the history behind them, and the significance of the day. So, keep reading!
What are Asteroids?
They are also called minor planets. The rocky remnants left during the formation of our solar system, make up these. Their existence might go back at least around 4.6 billion years. found in the inner solar system.
Many scientists also believe that asteroids are nothing but fragments of a planet that might have existed between Mars and Jupiter. As per the belief, the planet could have exploded due to unspecified reasons. Also called as Asteroid Belt, it is the region between the two planets. Interestingly, the distance between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter is enough to fit in a planet larger than Jupiter!
However, recent researches point out the existence of a protoplanetary disc. This is the rotating stellar disc made up of gases and elements. These discs later turn into planets due to gravity. However, scientists believe that due to the large gravitational pull of Jupiter, the protoplanetary disc could not become a planet. Thus, these planetesimals remained and formed asteroids!
Asteroids- Are they even useful?
Though the general concept about asteroids stands that they are dangerous. But, the asteroids could turnout into boons in the coming future. Minerals and elements make up the asteroids. Thus, they have a rich source of Iron, Platinum, and Titanium. Hence, harvesting the minerals for use would be beneficial. Also, many scientists believe that there could be elements on asteroids that could become potential space vehicle fuel.
The World Asteroid Day- History and Significance
The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution and declared 30 June as World Asteroid Day in December 2016. This decision was made after the Association of Space Explorers and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) brought the proposal.
On this day, many space agencies across the world including ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency), Roscosmos (Russia), ISRO (India), and NASA (USA) organize events to educate people about the impact of asteroids and meteors especially entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
June 30 marks the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, the Russian Federation. This event had occurred in 1908. This asteroid impact caused a huge explosion. However, the creation of a crater did not happen. Thus, the scientists think that it exploded and disintegrated at some height from the earth’s surface.
However, the explosion cleared a huge area of forest land. An estimated 80 million trees were wiped clean. It is also believed that around three people died in the explosion. Thus, this day is marked to educate people about these Asteroid impacts.
All in all, asteroids might be dangerous but they are a site of fantasy and mystery. They can unravel a lot of mysteries related to space and the formation of our solar system!