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Asteroid Day

Atrium, Space Science, and Planetarium

Experience Asteroid Day at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, learn about asteroids, their impacts on Earth, and NASA’s mission to the asteroid belt. All activities will be included in museum admission that day.

In the ViewSpace Theater, the museum will be streaming a special live broadcast of other Asteroid Day celebrations around the world. Hear from astronomy experts about the nature of asteroids and how they influenced Earth’s history. The video will continue throughout the day on June 30 during the museum’s normal hours. Find out more at:

Asteroid Day will feature hands-on activities for the family starting at 10 a.m. Learn how to tell the difference between meteorites and Earth rocks from UNM’s Institute of Meteoritics. A NASA Solar System Ambassador will have information about comets and asteroids.

This will be the last year that Asteroid Day includes the exhibition Dawn’s Mission to the Asteroid Belt. This temporary exhibit describes how the Dawn spacecraft works and what amazing discoveries it’s made between Mars and Jupiter. A new information panel, on public display for the first time, will highlight sites examined on the dwarf planet Ceres at the end of Dawn’s mission. The curator of the exhibition, Dr. Tom Prettyman, will be at an “Asteroid Advice Booth” and available to answer questions during most of the event (see his biography below).

Solar observing will be offered by the Rio Rancho Astronomical Society if the sky is clear. Safely examine any activity on the sun through special telescopes in front of the museum entrance.

The center of the museum’s acclaimed Walk Through Time shows the dramatic asteroid impact that researchers believe lead to the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. On this day only, a museum docent will lead a brief guided tour of the area and describe exactly why scientist think a rock from the sky changed the course of Earth’s development. Participants should assemble at the bleachers next to the new Bisti Beast in the museum atrium at 10:30 a.m.

At 1 p.m. two planetarium shows will be presented. The first is a brief description of the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment missions scheduled for 2022.  Find out more about this international collaboration from these sites:
The other show will be the planetarium feature Incoming!  Asteroids and comets have collided with our planet throughout its history, changing the course of life on Earth and shaping the world we know today. Explore the past, present, and future of our Solar System and the landmark discoveries scientists have made sending spacecraft to visit tiny worlds. Admission to these shows is included in museum admission on June 30.

Asteroid Day happens on June 30 every year and is an international campaign to educate people worldwide about asteroids, the impact hazard they may pose, and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations.  Events held in various cities on Asteroid Day range from professional lectures and personalized programs for the public to live entertainment, all to help raise public awareness and support for ways to increase detection and tracking of asteroids.  Find out more from the event’s international site:

About Dr. Prettyman:
Dr. Tom Prettyman is one of several Planetary Science Institute scientists working in New Mexico and is proud to call Albuquerque home. Tom’s Ph.D. is in Nuclear Engineering, and his area of expertise is planetary remote sensing. He has experience working on NASA planetary missions, including Lunar Prospector and 2001 Mars Odyssey. He is a coinvestigator of the Dawn mission, for which he serves as the lead for the Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND), the only US payload instrument.

Included in Museum Admission
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