T-28 days and we will have lift off the 50th anniv celebrations of the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin. The historic date is April 12,1961 and the celebrations are scheduled for April 12,2011.
As part of this exciting launch campaign on Monday the consulate general of the Russian Federation in Mumbai has organised a photographic exhibition of the life and times of Yuri Gagarin at the consulate premises in Napean Sea Road.
``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' attended the opening and went through photographs depicting the various stages of the life of Gagarin. For Mumbaikars Gagarin is of special interest, because he visited Mumbai in October 1961 and addressed the rally at Shivaji Park.
One can see newspaper clippings of the first flight and books, including one by Yuri Gagarin called ``The Road To Space.'' Unfortunately, an English version of the book is not available, deputy consul general. A.M.Mzareulov, told BMM.
He said that the Russian consulate plans to bring school children to the exhibition. It is a very good idea. At a time when India is planning a manned mission, it would be worthwhile to educate our youngsters about the first man who flew into space. This will really help school children to take an interest in science and space.
Mzareulov also said that the Russian consulate also plans to take advantage of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the flight and expose our youngsters to Russian art, science and culture. According to him, to mark the important occasion the consulate is planning a concert which will be dedicated to Yuri Gagarin.
Present at the opening of the photographic show, was my good friend S.Kulkarni of the Observer Research Foundation. He was equally excited about the Gagarin's flight and is exploring the possibility of organising a programme to mark the 50th anniversary of the mission.
BMM has just one complaint. The exhibition of photographs should have been bigger . There should be more excitement about the 50th anniversary celebrations and some private organisation infact should take upon itself the task of making Gagarin souvenirs and selling them. Why not?
There should be books available about Gagarin. After all the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight is not an event to be dismissed as something of little consequence. It is a major occasion which eventually led to the first landing on moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. Gagarin's flight after all opened space to mankind.
Can anyone forget it?
So let there be more excitement about it.
BMM is looking forward to participating in all these events.