Credit: Asteroid Foundation

The Luxembourg-based Asteroid Foundation has announced that it is organising a 25th anniversary edition of its annual Asteroid Day on 30 June 2021.

This year's theme for Asteroid Day, a United Nations-sanctioned global awareness campaign, will be the 25th launch anniversary of NASA’s NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft,  as well as the 2021 launch of three new asteroid missions: NASA’s Lucy, NEA Scout and DART (the world’s first mission to test an asteroid deflection technique).

On 17 February 1996, NASA launched the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)-Shoemaker mission. It was the first mission dedicated to exploring asteroids and it became the first mission to orbit and touch down on an asteroid, thus paving the way for all future asteroid missions.

2021 will mark another milestone mission: NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.

Asteroid Day’s theme of 25 years of asteroid missions will be promoted throughout the month of June, kicking off with Asteroid Day TV on 1 June 2021. This year’s programme will include interviews with key personnel from past and future missions. It will explore how technologies have changed, what scientific surprises were waiting on the asteroids, how the goals of the missions have evolved and what the future has in store for asteroid research and planetary defence. 

“We’re looking forward to producing this year’s Asteroid Day festivities virtually from Luxembourg. We have been fortunate to have had partners like Broadcasting Center Europe and SES, who have allowed us to disseminate professional video content worldwide via satellites and streaming,” commented Asteroid Day Programme Director Colleen Fiaschetti. “We’re especially excited about this year’s theme. With the launch of the first-ever asteroid deflection test mission in July and the continued strengthening of global coordination between space agencies, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how far we have come and inspire the next generations of space explorers.”

In addition, Asteroid Day’s extensive network of volunteers are already organising thousands of independent events around the world. In the Grand Duchy, an ADLIVE panel will take a closer look at Luxembourg's role in space. Space Connects Us events with local schools and organisations are also in the pipeline.

Markus Payer, Asteroid Foundation Board Chair, noted: “Luxembourg has established itself as an international hub for the space economy, the research and exploration of space over decades. A center of excellence and a driver of innovative and disruptive technologies and business ideas. A start-up nation, champion of federating international partners and forces and founding alliances across all borders. It is the ideal hub and home for the Asteroid Day and the Asteroid Foundation. We are looking at space as an enormous opportunity and a rich resource to improve our life on Earth, to develop our economies, societies and environment. Luxembourg has a vision and we are happy to be part of it".

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