On June 30, 1908 an asteroid exploded over Tunguska, Siberia releasing energy of 100 tons TNT – the force flattened 800 square miles of Russian wilderness. Last year astrophysicist Dr. Brian May, Apollo 9 astronaut Ricky Schweickart and astronaut Dr. Ed Lu co-founded Asteroid Day to coincide with the anniversary of the Tunguska event. June 30, 2016 was the second official Asteroid Day.
Hold onto your hat – astrophysicist Dr. Brian May is Brian May, guitarist and songwriter for rock band Queen (he wrote We Will Rock You ). Brian May, ranked 26th of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2011, is an astrophysicist.
With a degree in physics from Imperial College London, 1974 found May working on his thesis ( the study of reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in our solar system ). Academic pursuits ended with the rise of Queen’s star. Over 40 years and honorary degrees from Hertfordshire, Exeter and Liverpool John Moore universities later, May buckled down. Submitting an updated thesis “Motions of Interplanetary Dust” to Imperial College – Brian May earned his PHD in 2007.
Dr. Brian May
From a 2015 interview with the Guardian –
“The aim is to ramp up public awareness and the awareness of governments to the fact that we are under threat from a meteor strike,” May told me during a visit, “It’s been made light of, and we’ve seen some great films, like Bruce Willis saving the day, but it is a very serious threat.”
A key aim of Asteroid Day is to lobby for a 100-fold increase in the detection rate of Near Earth Objects.
“This is a catastrophe that could be averted,” he said.
I leave you with “We Will Rock You – Asteroid Day”