On Thursday, April 12, The Planetary Society will help co-sponsor the
worldwide celebration of Yuri’s Night, the 40th anniversary of Yuri
Gagarin’s historic flight as the first human to orbit Earth.

Forty years ago, the Soviet Union launched the first human into space,
heralding an incredible four decades that have seen men walk on the Moon
and spaceships voyage from the sun-baked craters of Mercury to the ice-blue
atmosphere of Neptune.

Those four decades also heralded amazing changes on Earth itself, seeing an
end to the cold war space race between the USSR and the USA, and ushering
in a new international space station built and operated by many nations.

Ironically, peaceful cooperation has become one of the legacies of the cold
war space race. Yuri Gagarin, a product of the cold war, once said,
“Circling the Earth in the orbital spaceship I marvelled at the beauty of
our planet. People of the world! Let us safeguard and enhance this beauty –
not destroy it!”

Yuri’s Night will celebrate this spirit of cooperation and the continuing
adventure of exploration that Gagarin sparked with his flight 40 years ago.

Venues around the world will commemorate Yuri’s Night in a variety of ways,
ranging from dance parties at local clubs to discussions of current and
future space missions. 61 separate events in 28 countries are scheduled,
with more being added daily to the website listings. Locales hosting events
include Melbourne, Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, Manila, Lisbon, Moscow, Capetown,
Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Houston, and even the Scott-Admunsen Base at
the South Pole. All the parties will be linked together into one global web
event, starting with parties in Ankara and Sydney at 1:00 AM PDT on
Thursday April 12th and finishing at the end of the Vancouver party at 8:00
AM PDT on Friday, April 13th.

The live global web coverage can be followed at http://live.yurisnight.net.
For more information about local Yuri’s Night activities, visit their web
site at http://www.yurisnight.net/spaceparty.htm.