Celebrate Asteroid Day 2020 with live talks about planetary defense

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Defending Earth from asteroids may seem like science fiction, but planetary defense is a serious matter. That’s why scientists around the world mark June 30 — the anniversary of the Tunguska meteor explosion in Siberia in 1908 — as Asteroid Day. 

The Asteroid Foundation is hosting a five-hour series of panels and talks today to examine the state of asteroid research, discoveries and sample-return missions from Japan’s Hayabusa2 and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx missions. You can watch it live here via the Asteroid Foundation, as well as on Twitch. The program began at 7 a.m. EDT (1300 CEST) and will repeat later today.

“Asteroid exploration missions tell us about the birth of our own planet and reveal how asteroids can serve astronauts as stepping stones to Mars,” planetary scientists and former NASA astronaut Tom Jones, an Asteroid Day panel member, said in a statement. 

Today’s Asteroid Day Live Digital programming includes talks from astronauts, scientists, the asteroid-focused B612 Foundation and asteroid exploration team members. You can see a full list and schedule for the day here.

You can also watch an hour-long Asteroid Day program from the European Space Agency (ESA) here (and at the top of this page). 

The ESA program, hosted by space journalist Richard Hollingham, includes talks with asteroid scientists, meteorite hunters, space rock trackers and an overview of European asteroid tracking telescopes. Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May also discusses the challenge of asteroid rendezvous in the program, according to an ESA description. 

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