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WedMar 23

Near Miss Day – March 23, 2022

Near Miss Day is celebrated on March 23, each year. What would you do if a huge asteroid was about to hit planet Earth? On March 23, 1989, an asteroid about the size of a mountain came very close to colliding with the Earth. Thankfully, it was a near miss! Otherwise, the effect of the collision would have been devastating. People around the world celebrate this day to be grateful that the asteroid didn’t wipe us out! According to scientists and astronomers, many meteoroids and asteroids have passed by the Earth since 1989. However, the odds of an asteroid hitting the Earth are not high. That’s a relief!

History of Near Miss Day

Ever wondered what an asteroid is? Asteroids are rocks that were formed after the formation of our solar system — they are the leftovers of a great process. Asclepius is an asteroid with a diameter of 0.431 kilometers, comparable to the size of a football field. 

On March 22, 1989, Asclepius passed by the Earth at a distance of almost 500,000 miles. However, scientists only discovered this after nine days. Many geophysicists believe that the collision of Asclepius with the Earth would have wreaked havoc, resulting in the release of energy comparable to a 600 megaton atomic bomb! 

The reason this day has great importance is that the Earth nearly escaped from an apocalypse. We all got a second chance at life. This event changed our perspective on cosmic influences — it made us realize that humankind has absolutely no control over the universe. 

Since that day, there have been advanced changes in space programs. Missions were organized and space shuttles were sent to nearby planets to study life on them. Near Miss Day also reminds us that asteroids and meteors can lead to the extinction of the Earth and the human race.

Near Miss Day timeline

March 22, 1989
4581 Asclepius Passes By

The asteroid Asclepius passes by Earth at a distance of almost 500,000 miles.

March 31, 1989
Scientists Discover the Asteroid

The American astronomers Henry Holt and Norman Thomas discover that Asclepius had passed by the Earth.

August, 1989
Scientist Find Another Asteroid

Scientists find a third asteroid to come very close to hitting the Earth again, although the chances are slim.

1990
Scientists Discover the Size of 4581 Asclepius

A year after the discovery of Asclepius, scientists confirm its diameter to be between 300 m and 800 m.

Near Miss Day FAQs

When can Asclepius hit the Earth again? 

The chance of the asteroid 4581 Asclepius hitting the Earth again is predicted to be in the next century.​  

 

Which group of asteroids does the Asclepius belong to? 

The asteroid, Asclepius, belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids.

 

What is the most dangerous asteroid?

The Apollo asteroid is known to be the most potentially hazardous cosmic object compared to other asteroids.

How To Observe Near Miss Day

  1. Learn about Asteroids

    This Near Miss Day, educate yourself about asteroids and meteors. Explore them, their orbits, and their sizes. You can read up on asteroids on NASA’s official website.

  2. Share the story of this day

    Share the story of Near Miss Day with the world and the impact the asteroid could have had on the Earth. Search for other such moments in history and then spread the word.

  3. Be Grateful

    Make and share videos of yourself, explaining how grateful you are to get a second chance at life. Share your videos on social media using different hashtags and encourage others to do the same.

5 Interesting Facts About Near Miss Day

  1. Asclepius was not noticed

    Radars and telescopes were not able to detect the asteroid.

  2. Largest-known asteroid

    Ceres is known to be the largest asteroid.

  3. Discovery of the term ‘asteroid’

    William Herschel was the first to name these huge rocks ‘asteroids.’

  4. A meteoroid falls every year

    Every year, a meteoroid about the size of a car crosses the Earth’s orbit.

  5. Number of asteroids in the solar system

    There are 600,000 asteroids present in the solar system.

Why We Love Near Miss Day

  1. We almost escaped destruction

    Although it is a bit odd to celebrate something that never happened, a huge asteroid missing the Earth by almost 500,000 miles is something to be grateful for!

  2. Advancements in science

    Near Miss Day gave us a reality check that the Earth is not invincible and is subjected to many factors. It encouraged scientists to invent more advanced space programs, radar systems, and telescopes to keep a check on these objects.

  3. Realization of living life to its fullest

    Since we got another chance at life, this day makes us realize to live a joyful life without any stress and enjoy time with our loved ones. It is time to make all your wishes come true!

Near Miss Day dates

YearDateDay
2021March 23Tuesday
2022March 23Wednesday
2023March 23Thursday
2024March 23Saturday
2025March 23Sunday

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