World Space Week

Yesterday marks the start of the annual World Space Week. Established by the United Nations in 1999, World Space Week takes place each October 4-10. Billed as the largest public space event on Earth, World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.

World Space WeekAccording to the the project’s website, the goals of World Space Week are to:

– Educate people around the world about the benefits that they receive from space
– Encourage greater use of space for sustainable economic development
– Demonstrate public support for space programs
– Excite young people about science
– Foster international cooperation in space outreach and education

October 4 was chosen as the start of the annual World Space Week because it is the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1. As the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1’s launch is significant because it opened the way for space exploration.

As you probably already know, Sputnik 1 was launched by the Soviet Union as part of the “race to space” with the United States. This intense competition was also tied to the Cold War.

Certainly there is still a lot of global competition in the space arena (especially between China and the United States) but there is also plenty of room for global collaboration as well.  One thing  that appeals to me about World Space Week is the emphasis on global connection through space. The last World Space Week goal – to foster international cooperation in space outreach and education – especially interests me.

Regardless of what nation you belong to, we all share the same Universe. To me, World Space Week is an opportunity to remember and celebrate this connection. The phrase “think globally, act locally” might be a good suggestion to follow this week. I encourage you to check the World Space Week event calendar to find an event in your local area. As you attend it, remember that thousands of people all around the globe are also celebrating space this week along with you.

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