Today, April 9, marks the official kickoff of festivities for the 2010 edition of Yuri's Night, a global celebration of the rich history and future potential of humanity in space. Tens of thousands of people around the world are expected to participate in over 180 Yuri's Night events in 63 countries on all 7 continents.
Yuri's Night is traditionally held on April 12th, the date of Yuri Gagarin's first human space flight (in 1961) and the first launch of NASA's Space Shuttle (in 1981). However, many events will be held on Saturday, April 10th this year, including the Yuri's Night flagship event at San Francisco's NASA Ames Research Center. Yuri's Night Bay Area will feature performances by The Black Keys, N.E.R.D. and Grammy-award winning artist Common, as well as talks given by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and private space adventurer Richard Garriott.
Other Yuri's Night events are being held in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Sydney, Beijing, Delhi, Nairobi, and several NASA centers, including NASA Ames and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Yuri's Night is an entirely non-profit, grassroots organization, and the number and diversity of Yuri's Night events being held is testament to the booming interest in space held by people both young and old.
For its 10th year of operation, Yuri's Night has partnered with a fantastic set of collaborators to take participating in Yuri's Night to a whole new level. Yuri's Night is working with the creators of the acclaimed Spacevidcast program to run a 12-hour continuous live Yuri's Night webcast from 2 p.m. Saturday, April 10 to 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, April 11. The webcast, to be aired at spacevidcast.com, will feature live video from Yuri's Night parties around the globe, airings of Yuri's Night "toasts" made by figures such as NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, author Homer Hickam, journalist Miles O'Brien and the Google Lunar X PRIZE staff, and interviews of Yuri's Night partiers and organizers. Viewers will be able to interact with Spacevidcast and each other via live chat.
Yuri's Night is also collaborating with Aerogel.org to distribute aerogels, superlight materials used in aerospace and other research, to educational organizations in developing countries. One sample of aerogel will be retained, however, as the medium for the first annual Spirit of Yuri's Night award, the recipient of which will be officially announced tomorrow. Finally, Yuri's Night is working with online retailer ThinkGeek to give away various space- and science-based products at Yuri's Night events.
For more information on this year's Yuri's Night events and how to find what Yuri's Night events are being held near you, visit the Yuri's Night website or download our free "Yuri's Night" iPhone/iPod Touch app on iTunes.