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So they dedicated an asteroid to me.”

So they dedicated an asteroid to me.”

Its abbreviation is 1988FD3. It is an asteroid, that is, one of those rocky bodies of various sizes, which orbits between Mars and Jupiter. It is likely that during the formation of our solar system, about 4.5 billion years ago, this planet disintegrated into a large number of fragments due to colossal gravitational perturbations.

Some of these fragments are of considerable size, which is why some of them are called “small planets”. It is also why cinema with a disastrous vein has repeatedly made them heroes of global destruction on Earth. After all, there is some truth, because not all asteroids wander between Mars and Jupiter, some escape and go for a walk in the solar system. Where Earth is also … can we be (relatively) quiet, the probability of a giant asteroid colliding is very, very low. Statistically, this happens once every few million years. In fact, the one that wiped out the dinosaurs from the Earth dates back to 65 million years ago.

But the odds are not zero, and in any case they can be predicted in advance. The recent Dart space probe has shown us that we can handle an emergency. As we have seen recently, it is enough to want it and invest in science.

So, in addition to the feeling of receiving such an important recognition, knowing that the 1988 FD3-rated ones were then renamed “Antonio Lo Campo” had a certain effect on me. Because it is a wonderful little planet, its irregular width is about 3.5 kilometers!

In short, I hope he will always be there, “Antonio Lo Campo 1988”, doing his duty between Mars and Jupiter … In fact, if he affected another planet, I would feel a little guilty!

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Paradox aside, the little planet now, from the cold abbreviation with which it is cataloged, bears the less cold title of Puglia origin that I have the honor to bear, though I was born and always lived in the Savoyard of Turin which is now less and less so.

Just as I am honored to receive this enormous recognition from the prestigious International Astronomical Union (IAU), which in addition to cataloging and confirming the discovery of all celestial bodies, assigns a person’s name to an asteroid. The name was suggested by an astronomical discoverer. In my case, from Walter Ferreri, Turin astrophysicist and promoter of Sardinian origins at the INAF Observatory in Turin, one of Italy’s leading experts in astronomical instruments: his live broadcast with jacket and cap from the hills and terraces of sub-zero temperatures is unforgettable, during some special performances Piero Angela.

The International Astronomical Union, founded in 1919, assigns an asteroid the name of a personality that has made itself known above all in the field of space research and dissemination, or science and culture in general. Uniting astronomical societies and astrophysicists from around the world, it is a member of the International Council for Science, the recognized authority for naming stars, planets, asteroids and other celestial bodies, with its headquarters in Paris. But he, of course, deals with all sectors of astronomy for the nomenclature and cataloging of all discovered celestial bodies, carefully assessing their nature. The asteroid «Lo Campo 1988 FD3», designated in July, was discovered precisely in 1988 by Ferreri, during one of the research and observation sessions at the La Silla Observatory, run by the European Southern Observatory, in the south of the Atacama Desert, in Chile, located on At an altitude of 2,500 meters, it is considered among the best in the world and with the most advanced instruments ever used to monitor the universe using ground-based observatories.

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The assignment of a minor planet, which cannot be photographed at the moment (but Ferreri and another astronomer, Gianluca Massi, tell me it must appear sooner or later), is also a lifetime achievement award, if you will. But not at the end of their career: in fact, it can be awarded to those who have already contributed for some time to the promotion of space culture, between astronomy and astronautics. One book or a few articles is definitely not enough to get it. They gave it to me when I was 57, and I’m not complaining: Among the most famous science journalists and space publishers, Piero Bianucci got 47, but Piero Angela at 66, and Tito Stagno at 89. Just to make the names of true popular icons of science disclosure.

It also makes me think of the fact that a few years have passed since my beginnings: just think of my first article on Southern Gazette, dated October 1993, an agreement was reached with the editor-in-chief of Culture at the time, Lino Patrono, who would soon become director. He was on a space shuttle mission, and he went to the science page on Monday.

Therefore, this is an acknowledgment that I would also like to share with all the publications I have and with whom I collaborate, including excellent journalists, editor-in-chiefs and editors of magazine, From the editorial board of Culture to Foreign Affairs, From Records to Online Magazine, launched by Ignazio Lipolis more than twenty years ago.

Then we proudly brought a little Foggia and therefore Puglia into space, about 900 million km from Earth. This is actually roughly the distance, estimated from Earth, “1988Fd3 Antonio Lo Campo”.

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