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Celebrate Asteroid Day 2020 with live talks about planetary defense

Defending Earth from asteroids may seem like science fiction, but planetary defense is a serious matter. That's why scientists around the world mark June 30 — the anniversary of the Tunguska meteor explosion in Siberia in 1908 — as Asteroid Day. 

The Asteroid Foundation is hosting a five-hour series of panels and talks today to examine the state of asteroid research, discoveries and sample-return missions from Japan's Hayabusa2 and NASA's OSIRIS-REx missions. You can watch it live here via the Asteroid Foundation, as well as on Twitch. The program began at 7 a.m. EDT (1300 CEST) and will repeat later today.

"Asteroid exploration missions tell us about the birth of our own planet and reveal how asteroids can serve astronauts as stepping stones to Mars," planetary scientists and former NASA astronaut Tom Jones, an Asteroid Day panel member, said in a statement

Today's Asteroid Day Live Digital programming includes talks from astronauts, scientists, the asteroid-focused B612 Foundation and asteroid exploration team members. You can see a full list and schedule for the day here.

You can also watch an hour-long Asteroid Day program from the European Space Agency (ESA) here (and at the top of this page). 

The ESA program, hosted by space journalist Richard Hollingham, includes talks with asteroid scientists, meteorite hunters, space rock trackers and an overview of European asteroid tracking telescopes. Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May also discusses the challenge of asteroid rendezvous in the program, according to an ESA description

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.