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National Near Miss Day commemorates the day when a large asteroid missed the Earth by a mere 500,000 miles – a very near miss indeed! What would you do if an asteroid was about to hit the Earth – how would you spend your last hours, and would you even want to know?

History of National Near Miss Day

Those who were living on planet Earth in the 1980s may remember an important day that could have been an extreme disaster! On March 23, 1989, an asteroid that was around 300 meters wide was headed on a course in the direction of planet Earth. The asteroid, named 4581 Asclepius, was about 6 hours away from striking the planet, coming within 450,000 miles or so. While that may still seem rather far away, in terms of asteroids traveling near planets, it is very close indeed.

An interesting fact about this asteroid is that it wasn’t even discovered that the asteroid came this close until nine days later, on March 31, when American scientists Henry E. Holt and Norman G. Thomas learned about it. But perhaps it is better that no one knew in advance, or there may have been panic incited similar to what occurred a decade later when Y2K happened!

Because of its late discovery, National Near Miss Day wasn’t even observed until after the fact, when the future of the human race was already in the clear. As it turns out, NASA reports that other asteroids and meteoroids have also come somewhat near to the planet, but none of them with a true capacity to create havoc or devastation.

How to Celebrate National Near Miss Day

Enjoy the fun of National Near Miss Day by showing appreciation for the fact that the planet is still here and intact! Celebrate the day with some of these activities and ideas:

Learn More About Asteroids and Space

One superb way to observe National Near Miss Day might be to do a bit of brushing up on some scientific facts about asteroids and space rocks. Grab that science book off the shelf or do some internet research about the topic.

Here are some interesting bits of information about asteroids to get started:

  • Until the middle of the 19th century, asteroids were considered to be planets. Even with the largest telescopes available at the time, large asteroids appeared like stars but they were eventually classified as asteroids – meaning “star-shaped”.
  • Dinosaurs lost their lives to asteroids. One of the most plausible theories about the extinction of dinosaurs is that they were killed by an asteroid that was ten kilometers wide.
  • Asteroids can become moons. Many scientists believe that some of the moons of several of the planets in our solar system started out as asteroids that were pulled into the planet’s gravity.

Make a National Near Miss Day Playlist

One fun way to celebrate any day is with music! National Near Miss Day offers the opportunity to choose some songs about near misses and space, and make them into a themed soundtrack for the day. Consider adding some of these songs to the list:

  • Asteroid Blues by John the Shaman (2019)
  • Space Oddity by David Bowie (1969)
  • Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft by The Carpenters (1976)
  • Astronomy Domine by Pink Floyd (1967)

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