The Space Club of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State Nigeria on Friday, 22nd of April hosted the only registered Yuri’s Night Event in West Africa. Yuri’s night is the World Space Party, every April, the World come together to dream about where we are going, explore where we are and celebrate where we have been. It is globally celebrated in memorial of the first man in Space, a Russian Cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin. The event which had in attendance both staffs and students of the University was declared opened by the University Vice Chancellor, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics; Prof. Olatunde Arayela.
Speaking at the event the Director, Centre for Space Research and Applications (CESRA), Professor Joseph Akinyede said from the 1960s to now, humanity has intensified efforts on interplanetary research having explored all the nine classical planets, comets, asteroids, the moons and the sun and even, interstellar space beyond the sun’s stronger influence.
Going down memory lane, Professor Akinyede stated that on the 4th of October, 1957, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), celebrated the success of the launch of the first artificial satellite (SPUTNIK) and three years later precisely 12th April, 1962, the global community received the news with ecstasy of the first human space flight undertaken by young cosmonaut called Yuri Gagarin.
To prevent the use of the outer space for any military adventure the Director said that the United Nations established a Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) to regulate outer space activities and to ensure that space remains a domain for peaceful purposes.
According to Akinyede, the advent of space exploration and exploitation of space resources has given rise to the provision of platform for skills development knowledge acquisition, the creation of opportunities for new discoveries through the solar system, observations and exploration to deep space and the emergence of a new era of space technology applications with invaluable benefits to the society.
Declaring the event open the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Academics), Professor Tunde Arayela said FUTA is a specialized University of Technology that exposes its students to all the dimensions of tertiary education by equipping them to be versatile in the fields of science, art and technology. He commended the giant strides of the Director of CESRA in projecting the image of the University and his ingenuity in bringing intellectual expatriates to partner with the University resulting in fruitful collaborations.
The major feature of the event was a Stage Drama titled “Voyage to Mars”; a fictional story of a Nigerian scientist at the Federal University of Technology, Akure that came up with the theory and equation that will later land man on the Mars. In the Story: Federal University of Technology, Akure is depicted as the World number 1 University of Technology where inventions are birthed and World Renowned scientists are made. The scientist is a Professor in the University whose ambition is to win the year’s Nobel Prize award in Physics– He has been working on the theory for years – Since his PhD days. This event occurs at a time when there is rift between USA and Nigeria on who the leading Space Agency in the world is – the first to land man on Mars – A time when the Earth is no longer habitable as a result of Climate Change/Global Warming. The Stage drama was acted by Students of the University and Directed by a 300 level Student of the University named Ajayi Ayowole Damilola.
The event ended with an award presentation to the person that has contributed more to Space Science and Technology in the University in the past one year. The Space Person of the Year award is an annual award opened to the University Staffs and students, an award to celebrate whoever contribute most to Space Science in the University and this year’s award was presented to Prof. J.O Akinyede, the director of the Centre for Space Research and Applications of the University.
We believe one day, the Earth might no longer be habitable for human kind, we need to save our planet and at the same time explore and we believe Mars is a good destination for us. We believe our country Nigeria has a great part to play in the development Space Science and Technology and we as a club has dedicated ourselves to this. By June/July 2016, we will be having an Asteroid Search Campaign where Students of the University will be making real Asteroid Discoveries in a bid to save our planet said the President of the University Space Club