World Space Week began Sunday with celebrations in over 50 nations and an announcement that President Obama hosts a "Star Party" on the White House lawn Wednesday evening.
The White House event for middle-school students will "highlight the President's commitment to science, engineering and math education as the foundation of this nation's global technological and economic leadership," according to a White House statement.
"The event will include 20 telescopes on the White House lawn focused on Jupiter, the Moon and select stars; interactive dome presentations; and hands-on activities including scale models of the Solar System," the White House said.
UN-declared World Space Week, October 4-10, is the largest annual space event on Earth, according to World Space Week Association.
"This is the 10th anniversary of World Space Week, declared by the UN General Assembly in 1999," said Association Volunteer President Dennis Stone. "The theme this year is Space for Education. Teachers can inspire students by using the excitement of space. It's a powerful tool to fuel their motivation to learn," Stone said.
Other Highlights of World Space Week 2009 include:
Events globally celebrating the International Year of Astronomy
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte broadcasts from space
Students observe the Moon to win prizes
Many events in Turkey, Romania, India, Czech Republic, and the United States
Australian Government launches the Australian Space Science Program
Space Festival and International Astronautical Congress in Republic of Korea
Week-long space celebration across the Hawaiian islands
Public and students send messages into space via SentForever
NASA's LCROSS mission impacts the Moon October 9
Teachers globally inspire students using the excitement of space
The complete calendar of World Space Week 2009 is at www.worldspaceweek.org/calendar.
Participants include government agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, astronomy clubs, and museums.
Last year, World Space Week was celebrated with over 500 events in 63 nations, according to the Association. "We expect to break that record this year," Stone said.
World Space Week Association is supported by Hamilton Sundstrand, Turksat, Secure World Foundation, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, Astrium, ATK Launch Systems, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and SAIC.
WORLD SPACE WEEK ASSOCIATION
North America: Jeremy Pyle, email@example.com, 415.713.6272
Global: Alexandra Ruths, firstname.lastname@example.org