From a national view, each day many of us face a near miss here and there. March 23rd commemorates the day the entire Earth faced a near miss when a massive asteroid (4581 Asclepius) nearly hit us in 1989. National Near Miss Day celebrates the day 4581 Asclepius flew right on by.
On March 22-23, 1989, a mountain-sized asteroid came within 500,000 miles of colliding with the earth. “On the cosmic scale of things, that was a close call,” said Dr. Henry Holt. Geophysicists estimate that a collision with Asclepius would release energy comparable to the explosion of a 600 megaton atomic bomb. A collision would have had catastrophic effects on our planet. Scientists discovered the asteroid on March 31, 1989 – nine days after its closest approach to Earth.
There have been other near misses that have happened on an infrequent basis.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalNearMissDay
- Have you ever had a near-miss? This might be the day to share the story.
- Explore asteroids up close by visiting the NASA website.
- Share stories about near misses. Write it out or share a video.
- Read about other near misses or not so near misses. Like the one known human to have been struck by a meteorite, Ann Hodges.
- Watch videos about asteroids, meteors, and meteorites, like the one below.
- Use #NationalNearMissDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL NEAR MISS DAY HISTORY
While the origin of the observance is obvious, the creator of the day is considered nearly missing from our sources. However, we suspect the person to be a stargazer of sorts.
Near Miss FAQ
Q. How often do asteroids hit the Earth?
A. Large asteroids don’t hit the Earth very often. In fact, most burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere before hitting the Earth often creating unexpected meteor showers. The last large asteroid to impact the Earth’s surface occurred millions of years ago during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.
Q. What type of scientist studies asteroids?
A. An astronomer studies asteroids, comets, galaxies, moons, planets, stars, and other objects in space.