Cyprus played host to celebrations to mark International Moon Day, announced during an online press conference organised by NGO Moon Village Association (MVA) in cooperation with the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO) on Tuesday.

The announcement was made during the 5th Global Moon Village Workshop & Symposium hosted by CSEO from Nicosia.

MVA president Giuseppe Reibaldi said that the UN has approved the association’s proposal to establish July 20 as International Moon Day to commemorate the day humans landed on the moon, which was endorsed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS).

“More than 50 years ago we went to the moon because of competition. Now we are going to the moon because of cooperation,” Reinaldi said, illustrating MVA’s main goal to foster cooperation between nations to collectively reap the benefits of space exploration.

Imanuela Ionescu, legal adviser of MVA said she made the proposal to “meet the challenges of the new space age”. Noting the increasing density of missions to the moon, she highlighted the need to inspire the public and especially the younger generation to explore it further.

Former UN COPUOS chairman, cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, said this approval is recognition that the UN gives “very high importance to what we do”.

“This is an occasion for the whole world to promote space exploration, cooperation and mutual understanding in the exploration of the moon,” he said.

“So, every year, we will organise scientific, cultural activities, we will inform the public about the evolution of moon exploration and goals and results”.

Regarding Cyprus’ role in all this, Prunariu said the European Space Agency is in the process of exploring the moon in the future. Already, he said, three European astronauts are ready and could take in missions to the moon.

“All our countries taking part in the programmes could have a contribution, scientific, elements of programmes, parts of hardware and so on. Maybe in future also Cyprus could be involved in the way in the moon through their partners in European Space Agency,” he added.