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World Space Week: A Celebration of Space Exploration

Space exploration continues to work its wonders, with the latest triumph being images from an obscure comet snapped by a spacecraft while wizzing by at some 36,000 miles an hour.
by Laura Woodmansee
Pasadena - Oct 2, 2001
It's time once again to celebrate space exploration. In 1999, the United Nations declared the week of October 4 through 10 "World Space Week".

This particular week was chosen because October 4 marks the beginning of the space era. On that day in 1957, Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, was launched by the now former Soviet Union.

October 10th marks the 1967 signing of the Outer Space Treaty, which calls for the peaceful use of space for all mankind.

"The intention was really to set aside a time where all nations could celebrate human achievements in space", says Loretta Hidalgo, a Caltech Astrobiologist and co-creator of the highly successful space advocacy group Yuri's Night.

Rachel Zimmerman, International Outreach Officer for the Planetary Society, says, "World Space Week is good timing for talking about space issues. [It's a time to] gather people who are interested in space and remind them of why they are interested in it.

Space exploration can bring together nations and help bond the planet in a common endeavor, the international exploration of space. This is what World Space Week is about.

Zimmerman says, "Space is for everyone and people express their interest in space in different ways, and as long as they gather together and form a community of space interested people, that's really what it's about, that's what matters."

Hidalgo's group, Yuri's Night, is promoting a Los Angeles area event to celebrate World Space Week. "We're celebrating this Friday in Los Angeles in order to add our voice to the celebrations around the world," says Hidalgo. "We're going to be watching the IMAX movie "Blue Planet." It's incredibly beautiful, and there are a lot of people in L.A. who haven't gotten to see that.

One of many Space Week celebrations worldwide, the Los Angeles event will take place this Friday night, October 5th at 6pm at the California Science Center IMAX theatre.

The Yuri's Night group is organizing a space party to follow the movie.

The tragic events of September 11 have saddened and depressed so many around the world. "Just seeing something inspiring like an IMAX movie about space or about the earth really puts things in perspective for you and reminds you, says Planetary Society's Zimmerman, that by working together we can forget our international borders and differences and see the planet as one planet, the home of all living things that we know."

For tickets to the Los Angeles screening of "Blue Planet," see California Science Center (

Related Links
World Space Week Celebration Locator
Yuri's Night
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China Kicks Off World Space Week 2001 Promo Campaign
Beijing - June 26, 2001
China has given this year's World Space Week a kick start with a book donation ceremony last Friday. In the ceremony held here, the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence entrusted the Ministry of Education with the responsibility to distribute popular aerospace books to 20,000 schools all over the nation as gifts from the Commission.

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