Space Fans Celebrate Yuri's Night at Goddard Visitor Center
photograph of Darth Vader and stormtroopers Darth Vader, stormtroopers and other Galactic Empire officials from the "Star Wars" films greeted guests, posed for photographs and added an extra level of security at Yuri's Night. Credit: NASA/Bill Hrybyk
> View Yuri's Night photo gallery
On Saturday, April 4, the night was filled with energy and pulsing beats as hundreds of guests at the Goddard Space Flight Center joined millions around the globe to celebrate Yuri’s Night -- a world space party celebrating mankind’s achievements in space.

The Goddard Visitor Center was transformed into a night club with a future-tech twist. DJ Scientific, otherwise known as Mark Branch, a Goddard engineer, energized the dance floor. Regional superstar band Middle Distance Runner rocked the Earth Science Gallery with multi-layered, indie-pop sounds.

Dr. Jim Garvin, Goddard’s chief scientist, and Dr. Laurie Leshin, Goddard’s deputy director of science and technology, packed the Visitor Center’s Globe Theater with presentations that revealed our solar system in a new light.

Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes delivered an impressive artistic display of Jupiter and the Hubble Space Telescope, sparking conversations about some of Goddard’s ongoing missions, especially the upcoming Hubble servicing mission, scheduled for mid-May.

Other special guests included Imperial stormtroopers, Jedi knights and R2-D2 from 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. Galactic attire was encouraged and the crowd responded with futuristic interstellar outfits.

Visitors enjoyed free pizza and drink specials while taking in Visitor Center exhibits and a fun photo booth. A special game show, “Are You Smarter than a Rocket Scientist,” challenged geniuses and mere mortals alike. Guests had the chance to mingle with other space fans and commune with the latest in technology, all while feeling the buzz of being at a NASA facility.

Goddard's event may have been only one of 171 parties in 41 countries celebrating Yuri’s Night, but Goddard’s celebration couldn’t be matched; it was a galactic event to remember.

Yuri's Night is named for Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human being in space on April 12, 1961.
Amy Pruett and John Putman
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center