World Space Week 2013
October 2, 2013

World Space Week 2013 Kicks Off This Weekend

[ Watch the Video: World Space Week Begins October 4 ]

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Just because the US government shuts down doesn't mean the world has to, because it looks as though World Space Week will be launching this weekend regardless of what's going on in American politics.

World Space Week will begin Friday, October 4 and continue through October 10. This year's theme, "Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth" is a campaign of networked Mars analog demonstrations to celebrate and illustrate how discoveries on Mars have led to a better understanding of our own planet.

"During World Space Week from 4 to 10 October 2013 we will show you what we are learning about Mars, but also what we are learning about ourselves," organizers of the World Space Week wrote on the event's webpage.

"Mars gives us an opportunity to define from scratch what world we want to live in. How can limited resources on a planet be used to build a new civilization, without depleting these resources? How can we create an environment that supports human life, without destroying critical elements needed to sustain other planetary processes? Learnings that we can apply to other planets, but also to our current planet!"

One of the activities called 'Mission to Mars' will be a four-day simulation of a human Mars expedition at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. This mission will include a six-person crew led by Jon Rask from the Space Biosciences Division at NASA.

Another activity includes rover operations by teams in Chile, Germany, Hungary, Poland and the US. All of the activities will be viewable live online and will help provide opportunities for interaction over the Internet to school groups and museums.

"We are on the brink of an exciting new era and you can be part of it," Gernot Grömer, President of the Austrian Space Forum, said in a statement. "We are honored to take on the task of operating the Mission Control Center, connecting many of the world's premier analog research teams for planetary exploration. This year's Word Space Week will be an impressive showcase of what the solar system exploration community has achieved up to now."

According to the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), a total of 825 events from all over the world have been registered so far for World Space Week 2013. Last year's World Space Week included 300 events in 40 countries.

"We hope this theme will inspire our event organizers to reach out to schools, universities, astronomy clubs, community centers, space industry events and wherever we can celebrate space," organizers said.