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Outer Space

It’s World Space Week—Here’s What You Need to Know

Every year from October 4–10, the world unites in the celebration of space exploration and innovation. We’ve compiled the key info to help you make the most of this annual event.

 

A Bit of World Space Week History

According to worldspaceweek.org, in 1980, the World Space Week Association was founded to support “Spaceweek.” This annual event was held each July to commemorate the first ever moon landing, which occurred during the Apollo 11 spaceflight on July 20, 1969.

In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly declared October 4–10 to be the official dates of this global event, which by that time was celebrated in more than 15 countries.

The World Space Week Association has a “Permanent Observer” position on the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

 

This Year’s Space Week Theme: Discovery

The 2015 World Space Week theme is “Discovery,” and an apt theme it is, considering all of the space discoveries made this year. Here are a couple of the highlights:

Water on Mars

In September, NASA announced that data recovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) presents strong evidence of water on Mars. The presence of hydrated salts appearing in downhill flows or “recurring slope lineae (RSL)” are associated with briny liquid water, which would have a lower freezing point than fresh water, allowing it to achieve a liquid state in the super frigid Mars climate. The RSL are present in areas where the temperature can rise above -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pluto

Every week, it seems, the media reports another story about the NASA scientists who are freaking out over the images and data coming back from New Horizons as it gets up close and personal with Pluto, some 4.67 billion miles away from Earth. One story after another proclaims scientists to be “astounded,” “shocked,” “giddy” and “awestruck” by the vertical ridges, ice fields, possible underwater oceans, amazing colors and general geologic splendor of the demoted dwarf planet and its moon, Charon. The lesson here? Never underestimate the little guy. Let’s hear it for the underdog!

 

Ways to Celebrate World Space Week

World Space Week Listed Events

From Bangladesh to Greece to Canada and the U.S., countries all over the world are hosting events with themes ranging from “how to buy land on the moon” (Croatia) to IMAX Hubble 3-D viewings (U.S.). Worldspaceweek.org has a pretty comprehensive list of activities along with a map so that you can find an event near you.

Watch a Spacey Movie

If you can’t make it to one of the many events scheduled around the world, there’s always the movies.

Classics such as Contact and Close Encounters of the Third Kind are always reliable go-to’s when it comes to getting your interstellar fix. But if it’s more modern sci-fi you’re looking for, you’re in luck there, too.

The Washington Post reported this week on the “rise of a science-entertainment complex,” a phenomenon that is funneling a ton of space-themed films into the pipeline. The most recent example of this is, of course, The Martian, conveniently out in theaters now. With an opening day take of $54.3 million, we’re predicting many, many, many more space-themed movies in our future.

Watch The Martian Trailer on Youtube:

Happy World Space Week!

Every day it seems, we learn more about our universe, and every day the universe reveals itself to be more complex than we ever imagined. The more we know, the more we realize there is still so much to be discovered. We can’t wait to see what’s next. Happy World Space Week, everyone!

And thanks for reading.

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