Asteroid Day is a UN-recognised day and global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to talk about the dangers asteroids pose and discuss what can be done to protect families, communities, and future generations.
The date of Asteroid Day, on 30 June, commemorates the anniversary of the Tunguska asteroid impact over Siberia, Russian Federation, on 30 June 1908.
While events to mark Asteroid Day are held around the world, as headquarters of the event, Luxembourg will welcome experts in the field for a series of interviews and discussions to be broadcast live across 191 countries, from 12 noon to 6pm.
Why is it in Luxembourg?
Luxembourg last year announced plans to play a leading role in the exploration and extraction of space resources, also known as asteroid mining, through its space resources initiative.
This economic diversification, which is being largely driven by economy minister Etienne Schneider, seeks to exploit valuable raw materials from asteroids and near-Earth objects to meet new needs as the Earth’s resources dwindle.
While the two projects have different philosophies, they share the same goal of supporting research and development of technologies related to identifying and tracking asteroids, planets and near-Earth objects.
This is the second time that Luxembourg has hosted Asteroid Day. What has changed since it first hosted the day in 2016?
A lot has happened since Luxembourg first drew up its first action plan for space research and development in 2008 and especially during the last 12 months.
Perhaps the most important change has been the adoption in November 2016 of a draft law establishing the principle that space resources are subject to appropriation and companies that mine metals or extract gases and water will be able to claim them as their own. This legal and regulatory framework is in accordance with international law.
Also, in November 2016, Luxembourg became one of the biggest investors in asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources, a firm with a European HQ in Luxembourg, by finalising a €25m agreement to accelerate the company’s technical advancements with the aim of launching the first commercial asteroid prospecting mission by 2020.
In February spaceresources.lu signed an advisory agreement with the European Investment Bank to advise on financial instruments for private initiatives related to the project.
In March, Tokyo-based lunar robotic exploration company ispace signed memorandum of understandings with Luxembourg to cooperate within the space resources project. In April 2017, Luxembourg led an economic mission chaired by economy minister Etienne Schneider to the US to visit a number of companies who are part of the Luxembourg Space Cluster.
And in June Luxembourg and the European Space Agency signed an enhanced cooperation on asteroid missions.
Who is participating in Asteroid Day and how can the public get involved?
A huge list of experts from the world of space exploration will descend on Luxembourg on 30 June to participate in a live broadcast from RTL studios in Kirchberg. Among them will be astronauts like Rusty Schweickart (of Apollo 9), and Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu (Romania), as well as particle physicist Brian Cox and Asteroid Day co-founder Danica Remy.
At the end of each roundtable, members of the public can put questions to the panel of experts via Twitter by using he hashtag #AsteroidDayLive or via Twitch chat.
Click here to view the full programme of discussions in Luxembourg.
In addition to the Luxembourg interviews, talks and discussions will be broadcast over the entire 24 hours of Asteroid Day. Among the speakers will be Brian may, Stephen Hawking and more.
Click here to view the schedule of interviews and talks to be broadcast over the 24 hours.