The Planetary Society

65 N. Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106-2301 (626) 793-5100

Fax (626) 793-5528 E-mail: Web:

The Planetary Society will kick off the first World Space Week on October
4, 2000 with events at the United Nations and Hayden Planetarium in New
York City, and at the Observatorio Nacional in Rio de Janeiro. Society
participants will include Bill Nye the Science Guy, astronaut Franklin
Chang-Diaz and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, and
experts on Mars exploration attending the
International Astronautical Federation Congress in Rio de Janeiro.

In December,1999 the General Assembly of the United Nations declared
October 4-10 World Space Week to celebrate internationally the
contributions of space science and technology to humanity. The week is
bracketed by two historic dates — the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik
ushering in the space age and the October 10, 1967 Treaty on Principles
Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration
and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

“In the coming years we’ll learn more about our place in the cosmos,” said
Bill Nye, member of the Planetary Society’s Board of Directors. “This
conference will help spacefaring nations include all the people of Earth in
the joy of discovery and the science of our planet. It’s a big step for

The Planetary Society will host a Student Press Conference for young
journalists at UN headquarters during an event to launch World Space Week,
Wednesday morning, October 4. Middle schools and high schools throughout
New York City will send student journalists to the session, where they will
interview Nye and Franklin Chang-Diaz, a member of the Society’s Advisory
Council. Over 75 teachers and students will attend.

The Student Press Conference centers on one of the most intriguing
questions of our era — whether Earth’s biosphere is unique or if life
exists elsewhere in the universe. The participants, ages 12-17, will ask
questions ranging from how can life flourish in extreme environments to how
can human explorers advance the quest for life. In addition to their own
questions, the young journalists will ask selected
questions on behalf of students around the world who have submitted advance
inquiries to the United Nations.

This major United Nations event will incorporate The Planetary Society’s
Student Press Conference in a program that includes a panel of space
explorers from many nations, sessions on utilizing space for environmental
protection in China and disaster management worldwide, and a video
presentation by Planetary Society advisor Arthur C. Clarke.

“International cooperation is key to the future of space exploration,” said
Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. “It is Earth
that explores, not any one nation individually — that is why we, as the
largest space interest organization on Earth, wish to support the UN’s
World Space Week.”

While various nations have celebrated a space week on different dates in
the past, this will be the first official World Space Week decreed by the UN.

Also on October 4, the Planetary Society will co-sponsor with the Hayden
Planetarium a public event at the American Museum of Natural History,
“Should the Search for Life Be the Primary Goal of Space Exploration in the
21st Century?” The question will be debated by a lively panel hosted by
Neil deGrasse Tyson. Panelists will include Nye; Chang-Diaz; William
Burrows, Professor at New York University and author; and James Oberg, a
commentator on the Russian and American space programs.

The event begins at 7:30 PM, October 4. Call (212)769-5200 for tickets:
$10 for the general public, $8 for members of The Planetary Society, the
American Museum of Natural History, and the National Space Society.

The Society’s third event on October 4 will be held in cooperation with the
International Astronautical Congress at the Observatorio Nacional in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil. The public event will focus on Mars Exploration and
willfeature international speakers from the IAF Congress and from The
Planetary Society.

The Society’s goal is to advance the exploration of the solar system and to
continue the search for extraterrestrial life. The year 2000 marks The
Planetary Society’s 20th anniversary, and World Space Week offers the
perfect opportunity to celebrate two decades of Society support for and
participation in planetary exploration.


For additional information, please contact Susan Lendroth at (626)793-5100
ext 214 or by e-mail at

The Planetary Society

65 N. Catalina Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91106-2301

Tel: (626) 793-5100

Fax: (626) 793-5528