Mars within children's reach

Eager and enthusiastic young faces could be seen in the Rotunda of the Vienna International Centre (VIC) on 9 October when about a hundred pupils from Vienna, aged 6 to 10 years, had the possibility to drive the Dignity Rover (Mars Rover) on a simulated surface of the planet Mars while watching their teachers dressed up as astronauts pretending to walk on the surface of the planet Mars.

The visit and the activities on 9 October were jointly organized by UNIS Vienna, the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in cooperation with the Austrian Space Forum. Ever since it was declared by resolution 54/68 of 6 December 1999 by the UN General Assembly, World Space Week is celebrated every year at the VIC with visiting school children. Students participating in this year's World Space Week event, came from public schools in Vienna.

Steering the Mars vehicle using tele-presence was clearly one of the favourite activities of the children during their visit at the Vienna International Centre. The pupils also enjoyed the multimedia presentation of the Austrian Space Forum on Mars exploration and the AustroMars Expedition, as well as seeing their teachers being dressed up as astronauts.

By visiting the permanent space exhibition of UNOOSA they also learned about satellites, rockets and spaceships and admired the stone from the Moon. By the end of the programme a majority of the children wanted to be astronauts…

World Space Week celebrates the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. Endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1999, it marks the anniversary of two milestones in the human exploration and use of outer space: the launch of the first artificial satellite, SPUTNIK I, on 4 October 1957, and the entry into force of the Treaty Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which took place on 10 October 1967. Every year it is celebrated by various public and school activities all around the world.


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