World Space Week — an international celebration of space and its impact on our lives — starts tomorrow (Oct. 4), and chances are good there's an event near you.
The commemoration was first declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, according to World Space Week officials. It is meant to honor two seminal events in space exploration: The launching of the first satellite, Sputnik 1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and the Oct. 10, 1967, signing of the Outer Space Treaty that forms the basis for international space law.
"World Space Week consists of space education and outreach events held by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, museums and astronomy clubs around the world in a common timeframe," the organization's website states. "These synchronized space events attract greater public and media attention."
Some of the prominent events going on during World Space Week, which runs through Oct. 10, include:
- Tuesday: A World Space Week "virtual field trip event" hosted by aerospace company Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado, where students can talk with company experts about their space exploration aspirations: https://www.generationbeyondinschool.com
- Monday through Saturday (Oct. 3 through Oct. 8): The Science Foundation and the European Space Education Resource Office Ireland will organize moon workshops and an "unconference" (a conference organized by participants) called SpaceUp Ireland: http://www.spaceup.ie/
- Saturday: The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida, will present an afternoon with former NASA astronaut Story Musgrave, who will share experiences from his four spacewalks (three of which helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993): http://www.mosi.org/programs/adult-programs/afternoon-astronaut-story-musgrave/
- Friday (Oct. 7) and Saturday: Space Lectures will host an event featuring former NASA astronaut twins Scott and Mark Kelly. In March, Scott came back to Earth after nearly a year aboard the International Space Station, while Mark has flown multiple space shuttle missions: https://space-lectures.com/events/2016/10/08/751/
- IMAX will show "space-themed blockbusters and documentaries" at several AMC theaters across the United States later this month (Oct. 14 through Oct. 20). These screenings aren't actually during World Space Week, but, hey, close enough: https://www.amctheatres.com/imax-spaceweek
For the full event list, go to this website: http://www.worldspaceweek.org/events/event-list/ or consult this map: http://www.worldspaceweek.org/events/event-map/?start=0&whichYear=2016.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace