Outer space continues to inspire, provide benefits to all humanity, Annan says

Outer space continues to inspire, provide benefits to all humanity, Annan says

As outer space exploration continues to inspire people and lead to technologies that can benefit all people, World Space Week was an occasion to "rededicate ourselves to sharing those inspirations and discoveries with all humanity," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

"Space is a part of the world's cultural heritage," Mr. Annan said in a message marking the annual observance of World Space Week, which runs from today to 10 October. "It has inspired generations of artists, poets, scientists and musicians. Throughout history, societies have admired and searched for meaning in the same night sky."

Space exploration can even help bring cultures together, the Secretary-General noted, as today's manned space missions were rarely top-secret national projects. "Much more common are international crews, with members from a variety of backgrounds," he said. "Their missions capture the imaginations not only of their native lands, but of people around the world."

Meanwhile, space technology has produced tools that were transforming weather forecasting, environmental protection, humanitarian assistance, education, medicine, agriculture and a wide range of other activities. "And, of course, a fascination with space leads many young people to pursue careers in science and technology, helping developing countries in particular to build up their human resources, improve their technological base and enhance their prospects for development," the Secretary-General said.

World Space Week, which this year has the theme "Inspiration from Space," marks the launching of the Sputnik-1 satellite in 1957 and the entry into force of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and will be celebrated in at least 20 countries.