Yuri’s Night at the South Pole

April 12, Yuri's Night

Today, April 12, we celebrated Yuri’s Night at the South Pole. It is an international celebration held on April 12 every year to commemorate the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, and the first Space Shuttle launch on April 12, 1981.

The goal of Yuri’s Night is to increase public interest in space exploration and to inspire a new generation of explorers, while having some fun at the same time. Last year 20,000 people directly participated in Yuri’s Night. 190 parties, in 50 countries, on 7 continents are planned for this year. Together with New Zealand we kicked off the celebration at the South Pole.

Yuri's Night at the South Pole

We had a bar set up and you could have any mixed drink, as long as it was made with vodka.

You can have any mixed drink, as long as it contains Vodka

Some guys tried to pull off a prisiadka. I had a twisted ankle as a lame excuse. In the picture below it looks more like they were trying to levitate.

No, they are not trying to use the force. They are trying the  prisiadka

The celebration has it’s origin in the Russian “Day of the Cosmonauts”, which has been celebrated since 1922. The first international Yuri’s Night was celebrated in 2001 and we proudly participated at the South Pole. Back then the party was in a somewhat smaller location, the Skylab lounge.

Yuri's Night at the South Pole in 2001

Even the astronauts on the ISS got in on the celebration and send a video greeting:

P.S.: Then we had the anonymous guy missing the end of the cold war by roughly 20 years. He felt compelled to stage an anti party.

Poor guy missed the end of the cold war

He somehow missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the International Space Station, and actually the whole point of celebrating human space exploration. Hope he isn’t too shocked when he finds out that he is now part of the International Polar Year. Even in the middle of the cold war South Pole scientist participated in the peaceful pursuit of science. During the first South Pole winter, in 1957, Station science leader Paul Siple and his colleagues were part of the international network capturing signals transmitted by the first man made satellite, Sputnik.

[tags]Antarctica, South Pole, Yuri’s Night, Skylab[/tags]

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