Tonight’s the night, Yuri. It’s going to be alright. Of course we’re talking about Yuri Gagarin, the telegenic, barrier-busting cosmonaut who launched a cultural fascination with space. What better way to honor his legacy that to throw a world-wide party?
Yuri’s Night is a global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. Yuri’s Night parties and events are held around the world every April in commemoration of April 12, 1961, the day of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight, and April 12, 1981, the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle. Yuri’s Night events combine space-themed partying with education and outreach. These events can range from an all-night mix of techno and technology at a NASA Center, to a movie showing and stargazing at your local college, to a gathering of friends at a bar or barbecue. In 2011, the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight, over 100,000 people attended 567 officially-recognized events in 75 countries on all 7 continents, while thousands more watched the 12-hour live Yuri’s Night Global Webcast and participated online in the virtual world of Second Life.
Sounds like a good time! No word how many extraterrestrial revelers were in attendance, but there was that unexplained group mind probe late in the night. Perhaps someone spiked the punchbowl.
What? You don’t believe? Well, lots of people do. And they’re organized. Hard to dismiss so many people who claim to have seen that which cannot be defined. Still a doubter? Clearly someone hasn’t been watching enough reruns of The X-Files. Come for the aliens, stay for Fox Mulder.