Star Trek and Star Wars and all that descended from them inured us to the real hardships of space travel by making it look so easy. But what was it really like for Yuri Gagarin, the first man to ever leave Earth's atmosphere and orbit the planet? The Soviet cosmonaut took off in his Vostok craft on April 12, 1961, which might as well have been a zillion years ago, in terms of technological advancement.
That was exactly 51 years ago, and the date is still recognized annually around the globe with a spate of Yuri's Night celebrations -- and there's one right here in Denver.
In fact, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Yuri's Night celebration is a space-tastic exploration of the Gagarin experience, complete with talks on the cosmonaut's story, what happens to the human body in zero-gravity, and where we are or aren't going in future human space travel. There's also a dollop of outer-space culture from DMNS curator of astrobiology Dr. David Grinspoon, who, um, moonlights as a musician and will offer excerpts from his Life Out There: A Musical Tour of the Universe, complete with spacey visuals.
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Celebrate Yuri's Night at the DMNS tonight from 6:30 to 10 p.m.; admission ranges from $5 to $10. Visit the museum website for information. Find information on hundreds of other arts and entertainment events in our online Calendar.
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