World Space Week 2022 Will Honor "Space and Sustainability"

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Sep. 22 2022, Published 5:48 p.m. ET

World Space Week
Source: Getty Images

The International Space Station heads toward its normal position in Earth’s orbit following separation from the Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104) - which is out of frame - during shuttle mission STS-101, May 26, 2000.

Every year, people all across planet Earth honor the beauty of outer space by observing World Space Week. With support from the United Nations General Assembly, the weeklong celebration has been observed globally for several decades.

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Interested in getting involved in World Space Week 2022? Keep reading for details on the history of the holiday, this year’s theme, and how you can take part!

Source: Getty Images

Earth rises above the horizon of the moon, as seen by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission, December 1968.

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What is World Space Week? Here’s how the holiday started, and when you can celebrate it in 2022.

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the very first human-made Earth satellite, into orbit.

10 years later, on Oct. 10, 1967, the General Assembly signed the Outer Space Treaty, which essentially established international space laws.

To honor those two achievements, in 1999, the UN General Assembly announced that the week of Oct. 4 through Oct. 10 would be observed as World Space Week every year. Now, the celebration is coordinated by the United Nations with the support of the World Space Week Association, which states that the week’s central purpose is to “celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.”

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According to the World Space Week website, World Space Week also aims to provide space education, encourage more support of space programs, get the younger generation excited about STEM subjects, and encourage international teamwork in terms of space exploration, and more. The week is supplemented by a number of events, which you can read more about below.

The site also notes that the UN works to use space exploration for “peaceful purposes,” as well as explore how space exploration can help benefit humanity — and this year’s theme supports those efforts.

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What is the theme of World Space Week 2022?

The theme of World Space Week 2022 is “Space and Sustainability.” The World Space Week Association will primarily explore two avenues as part of that theme.

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First is the different ways that space exploration can be a good thing for humanity, as well as benefit sustainable development on our home planet. Second is addressing the obstacles that stand in the way of humanity continuing to explore outer space in safe and sustainable ways.

The World Space Week Association also wants to bring up how “space can help to achieve a cleaner, fairer, and safer planet Earth,” as well as improve the “sustainability of future space activities,” primarily by cleaning up space junk.

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It's important to note that although World Space Week is dedicating its 2022 celebration to discussing sustainability, space travel is far from environmentally sustainable — and it seems unlikely that that will change anytime soon.

How to participate in World Space Week 2022:

In 2021, World Space week was commemorated with over 6,418 events in 96 countries around the world. As of publication, people have registered a total of 899 events for World Space Week 2022 — 753 of which are listed on an interactive map on World Space Week’s website. If you can’t find any events in your area, consider hosting an event of your own and registering it online!

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