World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that WSW will be held each year from Oct. 4-10.
The 2006 World Space Week theme is “Space for Saving Lives.” According to the WSW Web site, “This theme encourages participants to focus World Space Week programs on the many ways that space helps to save lives on Earth. This includes disaster management, such as after the tsunami in Asia, telemedicine, and environmental degradation.”
CU is showing its support for WSW on Oct. 5 from 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. at Fiske Planetarium. Astonomy and planet sciences grad student Matt Benjamin will be presenting a “Guide to Colorado Skies” with a special emphasis on this year’s WSW.
“I am going to talk about different things going on internationally,” Benjamin said. “There are countries coming up with scientific breakthroughs that a lot of people are unaware of.”
Benjamin is one of the graduate students Fiske hires for its weekly “Colorado Skies” talks. Each talk focuses on a specialized topic of the sky as seen from Boulder.
Fiske also has lectures from CU professors throughout the year. Francisco “Tito” Salas, operations manager at Fiske, said, “What we show at Fiske is good for anyone, even if they are not astronomy students. Though CU professors are at the top in their research, they talk in a way that the public can understand.”
Thursday nights, CU students can go to any Fiske astronomy talk for free.
“Fiske has a lot of new hands-on type of activities available now for people to enjoy. It is interesting stuff, you don’t have to be an astronomy major to enjoy it,” Professor Douglas Duncan said. “I want students to have fun and have their curiosity piqued when they come to the planetarium.”
There are a lot of hands-on activities available at the planetarium. One of Duncan’s favorites is the infrared camera students can look at themselves through.
This spring, Fiske will be looking for bilingual students who are interested in a job talking to visitors about a new hands-on activity that will be available. Fiske will have a “floating sphere” that will have satellite images of weather from around the world projected onto its surface. In addition to being able to show weather patterns (including Hurricane Katrina), images of the moon and other planets will also be projected onto the three-dimensional globe.
Shows that are created and shown at Fiske are becoming internationally renowned.
“Our planetarium shows are being shown in Spain, Italy, Belgium and Sri Lanka that were made by CU students,” Duncan said.
Fiske also offers laser shows every week. Pink Floyd is always a best-seller, and Fiske was one of five planetariums selected this year to offer a laser show with music by Muse.
WSW commemorates the launch of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and the implementation of the Outer Space Treaty on Oct. 10, 1967.
Sputnik 1 was the first satellite put into orbit and was especially significant because it was launched during the “Space Race” between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War.
The Outer Space Treaty limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only, as well as prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind or conducting military maneuvers. The treaty also forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource.
Article I of the treaty states, “The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.”
Tickets to the presentation celebrating WSW, or other events at Fiske, can be bought at the Fiske ticket office, and more information can be found at http://www.fiske.colorado.edu