20 July 2023 – International Moon Day

The Moon

The moon, our natural satellite, has always fascinated us with its beauty, mystery, and importance in our lives. This is why people all over the world celebrate International Moon Day on July 20 every year.

It’s a day to commemorate the first humans who set foot on the moon in 1969, and to appreciate the scientific discoveries, cultural symbolism, and artistic inspiration that the moon offers.

I’ve always loved the Moon

The moon is more than just a glowing object in the sky. It has a complex history, structure, and influence on the Earth and its inhabitants. On the other hand, the moon also inspires many myths, legends, and cultural rituals around the world. For example, in China, the moon goddess Chang’e embodies beauty, fertility, and immortality; in Native American cultures, the moon represents the cycle of life and death; and in ancient Greek mythology, the moon goddess Selene drives a chariot across the sky.

For me, the Moon respresents life on Earth, because without it, there would be no life, or what life that did exist would probably be at the bacterial level. This is because the Moon provides two basic functions.

it acts as stablizing force, stopping the Earth from ‘wobbling’. Without the Moon, this wobble would lead to violent volcanic activity all over the Earth’s surface.

The tides created an in between space between the land and the sea, allowing life to ‘quickly’ migrate to the land. Well a lot more quickly if it wasn’t there in the sky.

Nevertheless, for thousands of years, human civilizations have looked up to the sky pondering the origin and mysteries of the Moon. And if it’s not a massive clue that the earth is a globe and not flat (as some might have it), I don’t know what is! And with the birth of space exploration, the Moon became the ultimate destination of countless missions, including crewed flights that brought the first human footprints to another place in the universe. Something that I’m very proud to have watched live as a young boy.

Neil Armstrong

Many missions to come

Lunar art and literature: The moon also inspires artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers to create imaginative works that reflect its beauty and symbolism. From classical paintings of lunar landscapes to modern songs about moonlight, the moon has been a timeless muse for human creativity. Some famous examples are: Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, the Chinese novel “The Moon Opera”, and the sci-fi movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Whether through realistic or surrealistic expressions, the moon enriches our culture and imagination, and reminds us of the awe and wonder that the universe holds.

Lunar activities and events: International Moon Day is celebrated in various ways, depending on the region and culture. Some common activities are: moon watching, where people gather to observe a full moon and share stories and myths about it; moon cake eating, a tradition in China and other East Asian countries, where people enjoy sweet pastries shaped like the moon; lunar photography, where enthusiasts capture stunning images of the moon with telescopes or cameras; and moon-themed parties, where people dress up as astronauts, aliens, or moon goddesses and have fun with games, music, and food. Some notable events that honor the moon are: the Moon Festival in China, Korea, and Vietnam; the Moonlight Masquerade Ball in the USA; and the World Moon Bounce Day, where amateur radio operators bounce signals off the moon and communicate with each other.

International Moon Day is a wonderful occasion to appreciate the beauty, diversity, and significance of the moon, and to reflect on our human curiosity and imagination about the universe. Whether we are scientists, artists, or simply moon lovers, we can find joy and inspiration in exploring and celebrating the moon. So, let’s join the global community of moon enthusiasts and raise a toast to the moon on this special day. Happy International Moon Day!

Lunar exploration and research: Since the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, humans have sent several spacecraft to explore and study the moon. These missions have brought back invaluable data, samples, and insights about the moon’s geology, composition, and history. For instance, the Apollo missions discovered that the moon has water ice at its polar regions, which could be a vital resource for future lunar and space missions. Moreover, scientists have used telescopes, satellites, and rovers to investigate the moon from afar, and uncover new mysteries, such as the moon’s magnetic field and seismic activity.

UN and Space

From the very beginning of the Space Age, the United Nations recognized that outer space added a new dimension to humanity’s existence. The United Nations family strives continuously to utilize the unique benefits of outer space for the betterment of all humankind.

Recognizing the common interest of humankind in outer space and seeking to answer questions on how outer space can help benefit the people’s of Earth, the General Asssembly adopted its first resolution related to outer space, resolution 1348 (XIII) entitled “Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space”.

On 10 October 1967, the “Magna Carta of Space“, also known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies entered into force.

Today, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the United Nations office responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. UNOOSA serves as the secretariat for the General Assembly’s only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space: the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

UNOOSA is also responsible for implementing the Secretary-General’s responsibilities under international space law and maintaining the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

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