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The 20th century was a time of extreme growth in technology and science on scales large and small, not the least of which was planet-wide interest in space. Society has benefited from space exploration in a variety of ways, including health and medicine, communication, consumer goods, information technology, transportation and so much more. 

Space Exploration Day is the perfect time to show some appreciation for and celebrate the advances that the world has gained through the exploration of space!

History of Space Exploration Day

The origins of Space Exploration Day date back to man first walking on the moon, taking place on July 20,1969 when America’s Apollo 11 mission safely landed two astronauts on the surface of the moon. The launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida was a landmark event, happening just eight years after US President John F. Kennedy declared that the country should aim to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

The day itself was first observed to commemorate this historic event during events held in the early 1970s, and the event has been held annually ever since. The man behind the original idea for the event J. David Baxter, who was a board member of the National Space Society (NSS) at the time.

Space Exploration Day is about more than just the moon landings, though, and is intended to pay homage to the incredible achievements of the space programs of the past and fire up enthusiasm for the benefits of space exploration efforts to come in the future.

How to Celebrate Space Exploration Day

Have a load of fun and learn lots by engaging with events and activities centered around Space Exploration Day. Get launched with some of these ideas to start with:

Explore Space!

Okay, it’s unlikely that most people will be able to be able to just hop onto a rocket ship and explore space in real life. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many different opportunities to explore space in honor of Space Exploration Day!

A super way to learn more about space might be to visit a space museum where it’s interesting for kids and adults alike to explore. Try out one of these amazing museums that offer all sorts of options for experiencing space:

  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. The world’s most visited space museum located in the US capital, this one has more than 60,000 objects on display including the Destination Moon exhibit and the Boeing Milestones Hall of Flight.
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Merritt Island, Florida. Visit one of only three existing space-flown shuttles in the US here, as well as the US Astronauts Hall of Fame, Rocket Garden, and the Race to the Moon.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The official visitor center is called the Space Center Houston, and this is the place where the famous line “Houston, we have a problem” hails from.
  • US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Located in the town affectionately known as “Rocket City”, this iconic place is where the rockets for the Apollo flights were developed and the modern Artemis space launch system is currently under construction.

Learn Fun Facts About Space

Enjoy and share some of these delightful facts in honor of Space Exploration Day:

  • A full NASA space suit costs around $12 million.

  • Earth contains more trees than the Milky Way has stars.

  • On the planet Mars, a sunset would appear blue to human observers.

  • Earth’s moon is the fifth largest moon in the solar system.

Get Creative for Space Exploration Day

A little online search about Space Exploration Day will provide plenty of ideas to take part in the day. These might include taking a nature hike in the spirit of exploration, organizing public star gazing parties, setting off model rockets, or having a science fiction party to show a classic space movie. There are plenty of other options to have some fun and celebrate a universe to be explored!

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