A celebration that is out of this world!
WHAT IS YURI'S NIGHT?
Yuri's Night is an international celebration that takes place on April 12th to honor humanity's advancements in space exploration. The day is named after the first human to be launched into space, Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin made history on April 12, 1961 when he flew the first manned spacecraft, Vostok 1, into the upper atmosphere and orbited the Earth. Yuri's Night also celebrates the launch date of the first orbital spaceflight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, STS-1, which fell on the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's legendary accomplishment.
Yuri's Night as it is known today was created in 2001, but Russians were celebrating April 12 as Cosmonautics Day since 1962. The celebration is also known to some as the World Space Party (which sounds stellar to us.) It's a day to praise the ingenuity of humanity's space programs and to inspire a new generation of explorers.
With that in mind, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a few of our own favorite pop culture stories of humanity out amongst the stars.
Obviously, we need to highlight the bright, hopeful future of humanity in space built by Gene Roddenberry in the Star Trek universe. What could be more inspiring than a Starfleet crew traversing the galaxy attempting to advance scientific knowledge about the universe and its inhabitants while spreading a message of diplomacy?
Additionally, the United Federation of Planets itself highlighted peaceful collaboration between humanity and alien species in the galaxy. It showed intelligent members of various species coming together under a single central government based on the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality. The Federation worked to share their knowledge and resources leading to scientific advancements and greater space exploration.
Although the first contact between humans and another sentient species in the galaxy went so poorly they named a war after it, the Mass Effect universe still presents a hopeful vision of our future among the stars. Despite a rocky start in the galaxy, humans earn a place on the Citadel amongst our intergalactic neighbors. While this future is filled with struggles and challenges, Shepard consistently demonstrates some of the best of humanity's traits. They fill their crew with aliens of all shapes and sizes (maybe smooching a few along the way) and fight for what they believe is right.
Alright, so maybe the universe that the Serenity crew exists in isn't the most awe-inspiring vision of humanity in space. There is, however, still a lot of good to be found in this possible future. Despite their differences, the crew finds each other in the vastness of space and grows a bond that can't be shaken. They might have a questionable relationship with the law of the 'verse, but they have strong relationships with each other. Wash and Zoë are able to maintain a loving marriage and the rest of the crew forms a family amid all their struggles. Firefly reminds us of the strength of humanity when people work together, even if all you have is a ragtag crew against the injustices of a cruel galaxy.
If you're simply craving some way to connect to the majesty of space today (without building your own spaceship in your backyard or launching your personal Tesla into the atmosphere), ThinkGeek has got you covered with all the Starstuff you could want.