Planetary Congress Draws Many Space Enthusiasts

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The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) kickstarted the annual Planetary Congress that saw the largest gathering of international astronauts ever. More than 130 cosmonauts and astronauts from across the globe gathered in Houston, Texas as part of this year's week-long Planetary Congress that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.

Planetary Congress Attracts Many

 

Planetary Congress Celebrates Apollo Mission

The Planetary Congress for this year marks the fourth time it is being held in the US. Bonnie Dunbar, chair of the XXXII (32nd) Planetary Congress and a former NASA astronaut says it's fitting to hold the conference in Houston to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, where the theme is set as 'Celebrating Apollo, Inspiring the Future'.

"For 50 years, we've built upon the human and technical achievements of the Apollo program and we continue to do so here onboard the International Space Station," said Andrew Morgan, NASA Expedition 61 flight engineer in a video recorded aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The astronaut and cosmonaut delegates at the Planetary Conference represent 18 countries. Panel discussions about the past space explorations as well as the present and future investigations will take place. Interactions with students and the public will also be held throughout the week, where space explorers share their flight experiences and challenges.

Planetary Congress Attracts Many

Planetary Congress Discusses Future Space Explorations

The Planetary Congress will also discuss the challenges of working beyond the Earth orbit. As NASA and other space organizations gear up for lunar and Mars exploration, the conference will also discuss medical difficulties, required spacesuits, crew safety, and other challenges for the new space exploration.

 

Speaking at the Planetary Conference, Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former NASA astronaut and president of ASE says that the 2024 deadline set by Vice-President Mike Pence for returning humans to the Moon is 'quite aggressive'. However, he also agrees that the timetable is a purposeful one.

The Planetary Congress will also hold discussions about the upcoming Artemis mission. "Our goal is to promote the benefits of human space exploration, to advocate for international cooperation in that regard, to promote better stewardship of our own planet and inspire the next generation of explorers," noted Lopez-Alegria.

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