Hundreds Gather at Goddard’s Visitor Center to Celebrate Mankind’s Achievements in Space
Michelle Thaller and R2-D2 Michelle Thaller, Goddard's assistant director for science communications, and R2-D2 pose in front of the Visitor Center's Science On a Sphere exhibit. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk
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Yuri's Night guests Yuri's Night guests dance to music provided by DJ Scientific. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk
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On Saturday, April 10, the night was filled with energy and pulsing beats as hundreds of guests converged upon NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to enjoy Yuri’s Night, a worldwide party celebrating mankind’s achievements in space exploration.

The Goddard Visitor Center was transformed into a night club on a futuristic spaceport. DJ Scientific, otherwise known as Mark Branch, a Goddard engineer, energized the dance floor. At the same time, regional indie rock stars Bellflur filled the Gravity Well with their surreal compositions.

Galactic attire was encouraged and the crowd responded with futuristic interstellar outfits. The party included an intergalactic fashion show for guests to flaunt their creative outfits. There was even a game show, “Are You Smarter than a NASA Astronaut?” The game pitted a team of mere mortals against a real NASA space hero -- retired NASA astronaut Roger Crouch, who flew on STS-83 and STS-94, logging more than 470 hours in space -- in a game of trivia.

Other special guests included Imperial stormtroopers, Jedi Knights, Tusken Raiders, R2-D2, and other denizens of the Star Wars universe. The stormtroopers provided an intimidating security presence, while the Jedi ensured peace and justice throughout Goddard’s corner of the galaxy.

Throughout the evening, visitors were treated to stunning video presentations on the Science On a Sphere projection system. Using Science On a Sphere, Michelle Thaller, Goddard’s Assistant Director for Science Communications in the Sciences and Exploration Directorate (Code 600), provided two riveting presentations that showed our solar system in a new light.

Guests mingled with other space fans and communed with the latest in technology, all while feeling the buzz of being at a NASA facility. Goddard’s Office of Human Capital Management was there, too, to talk to party-goers about career and internship opportunities at Goddard.

Yuri's Night is a worldwide celebration of the anniversary of mankind’s first foray into space and the first flight of the Space Shuttle. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space on April 12, 1961. Twenty years later, NASA launched Space Shuttle Columbia.

Related Links

› Yuri's Night photographs
› Video taken by Emory Stagmer for SpaceVidCast (YouTube)
John Putman
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center