On April 12, 1961, one of mankind’s greatest achievements occurred.

Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, carried there on a Vostok rocket.

In those days, it was an embarrassment for the United states, and led to Kennedy’s aim for the US to be first on the moon. The ultimate result of the competition was an exciting time for scientifically minded kids in both countries, who saw the future in space.

One of the casualties of the slow end of the cold war was that, without that desire brought on by competition, politicians have been defunding the manned space program. The US Space shuttle, whose first flight was also on April 12, 1981, has yet to be replaced by a newer design. Yes, there is an “International Space Station”, and an occasional Space Tourist, but where are the much anticipated Lunar colonies or mission to Mars?
The first Yuri day was celebrated in 2001:

Yuri’s Night was born from the desire of its two co-founders to inspire a new generation to dream again. Loretta Hidalgo, 27, is an astrobiologist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the North American representative to the United Nations Space Generation Advisory Council. George Whitesides, also 27, is a longtime space activist with a Master’s Degree in remote sensing…

Since then, it has spread all over the world, with parties on every continent and even one on Second Life.

yuri

All over the world geeks of all sexes and ethnic groups will be celebrating.

No, no party in this area, but I’ll raise a “San Mig” to Gagarin’s memory, and in memory of all those who risk their lives expanding’s man’s knowledge of God’s universe.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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