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News Article

Mexico Celebrates World Space Week

By Alicia Arizpe | Tue, 10/06/2020 - 12:28

Oct. 4 to 10 mark the celebration of World Space Week, an UN-coordinated event that aims to highlight the contribution of science and technology to improving human lives. During this year’s edition, which has the theme “Satellites Improve Life,” public and private institutions from over 80 countries will hold events for the general public to increase awareness of the impact of this field in daily life.

World Space Week marks two key dates in the history of space exploration: the launch of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik-1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and the signing of the “Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies” on Oct. 10, 1967. Coordinated by the UN and the World Space Week Association (WSWA), the event brings together academia, space agencies, aerospace companies, museums and other public and private entities to host a series of educational activities on space science and technology.

This year’s activities highlight the contribution of satellites to numerous areas of life. Satellites are essential in monitoring Earth’s environmental phenomena and provide daily information on the weather, including essential warnings of storms and cyclones. Satellites’ monitoring capabilities have found diverse applications in a wide variety of fields. For instance, agriculture and forestry can benefit from satellite surveying and analysis of soil moisture and vegetation. Satellites can also be used for intelligence and defense by monitoring human activities and can even help the tourism industry. A recent project led by the University of Nottingham will monitor the growth of sargassum in the Mexican Caribbean, which has costed the local tourism industry millions of pesos.

Numerous Mexican institutions have joined the celebration of World Space Week, including numerous other schools, associations, planetariums and museums. For instance, UNAM’s science museum Universum will hold a series of talks and demonstrations on the use of satellites in space exploration and telemedicine, while the Astronomic Society of Tec de Monterrey (SATEM) will be offering lectures and workshops and other gatherings. 

Altogether, World Space Week aims to create awareness on the benefits of space science and technology, to foster international cooperation, to encourage the use of space in sustainable development and to get younger people interested in science. Next year’s edition’s theme will be “Women in Space.”

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer