Q: What happens when you get 54 young space scientists and engineers in cities around the world to host space celebrations on the same night?
A: Yuri's Night, a World Wide Space Party linking up a whole new generation of space explorers.
"Our generation is lucky," says 26-year-old Dr. William Marshall. "Unlike generations before us, we are able to meet our colleagues in nations around the world at the start of our careers and use the internet to continue building thriving collaborative communities."
And space parties aren't the only thing they are planning...
These young space cohorts are hosting conferences, writing papers, organizing analogue research expeditions and submitting their opinions on space policy issues. So why, might you ask, would they put so much effort into a party?
"Yuri's Night is more then just a party," says Co-creator Loretta Hidalgo, "It is a powerful way to build community, to train young leaders, and to get the message out to young people that space is the place to be."
We have had much success too. Last years' event boasted 78 parties in 35 countries on all 7 continents. The LA event featured famed Science Fiction author Ray Bradbury, and hosted a number of other Hollywood celebrities and hundreds of party goers. We also had teams of young people organizing events at the Seattle Space Needle and the Houston "Outpost" (the famed astronaut bar). The Stockholm event had over 1,000 young people show up for their event and Turkey alone hosted 5 parties. We have even had messages beamed down to the parties in two languages from the crew of the International Space Station and helped 3 space couples tie the knot (one of them in space!).
We have been covered on MTV, NPR, CNN en Espanol, MSNBC, Wired Magazine, XM radio, and Wired.com as well as in newspapers around the world. World Space's UPOP Station, Channel 29 on XM and also heard over AfriSat and AsiaSat, also broadcasts announcements about Yuri's Night the month leading up to the event and all day on 12 April.
All of this to celebrate Gagarin, the 1st human in space (12 April 1961) and the 1st flight of the Space Shuttle (12 April 1981). We couldn't think of a better day to have the world celebrate together then a Space Anniversary that is held by both Russia and the US!
But just when you thought that was too much of a coincidence, this year our Japanese counterparts have told us that Yuri's Night 2005 will also mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1st JAPANESE rocket launch! (the "pencil" rocket in 1955) So this year in Japan they will also be celebrating their own 50th Space Anniversary- and we couldn't be happier- Congratulations Japan!
This year you can find events in NY, Seattle, DC, LA, SF, Fort Lauderdale, Mojave, Champagne-Urbana, San Diego, Boulder, Houston, Vancouver, Toronto, Japan, Australia, UK, Austria, French Guiana, and Stockholm. If you don't see a party near you its not too late to start one! Get the word out to your local space community, tell them when and where to be, raise a glass to Yuri and you too can be a part of our very own St. Patrick's day for Space.
To add your event to the official event list or to get more information, go to www.yurisnight.net or email Loretta Hidalgo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come be a part of something that can get this planet rocking!