April 12, 2001 -- Yuri's Night by Morning Edition
Forty years ago Yuri Gagarin became the first person to successfully travel into space. At the time, he was a 27-year-old Soviet cosmonaut and what he saw transformed him.
"Circling the Earth in the orbital spaceship I marvelled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world! Let us safeguard and enhance this beauty - not destroy it!"
Coincidentally, April 12th also marks the 20th anniversary of NASA's first space shuttle launch.
Space fans around the world are taking the occasion to celebrate the spirit of the pioneer space travelers and to commemorate Yuri's vision of an earth without divisions or borders. Loretta Hidalgo, a co-founder of the event says it is also, "an opportunity to inspire other young people to begin to dream again."
Via the Internet, a few young space scientists have organized a worldwide party, calling it Yuri's Night. Because of time zone differences, it will be one big overlapping party around the world. People will gather together, dance to mostly house music, remember the historic event and gaze at the stars.
Listen to the Morning Edition report as NPR's Alex Chadwick remembers the world's first human in space and talks to George Whiteside, the organizer of the international space rave, and Tony Watson, a deejay who will link the 69 parties with the music he plays on the Yuri's Night Web site.