VI Congress of the Association of Space Explorers
Groningen, The Netherlands
July 2-6, 1990

General Statement


The theme of the 6th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers, "Space Brings People Together", captures the profound impact that space exploration has had on humankind. In only three decades, people of many nations have had their lives intertwined by space activities such as space communication, space exploration and space observations of Earth.

Through space communication, we hear news from every corner of the Earth almost immediately, since the world is less than a half second around in the communication domain. No longer are we satisfied only with learning of events in the nearest town. Now we are eager to know about the entire world. We learn of others' successes and failures, good fortunes and disasters, triumphs and tragedies - and our own lives are forever altered.

Space exploration, both robotic and human, has also drawn us together through international cooperation on space missions. The fantastic Giotto and Vega space probes as well as many Explorer and Intercosmos satellites have involved scientists from around the world. Space Station Mir, and, in the near future, Freedom, draw heavily on international participation. Although only two nations have launched humans into space, the space explorers come from twenty different countries. These programs stimulate a worldwide exchange of knowledge, create a healthy interdependence on each other's expertise and reap benefits not only to the spacefaring nations but to the entire world. Future exploration of the moon and Mars should also involve international cooperation due to the strong mutual interests among the spacefaring nations.

Observations of the Earth from space have perhaps been the most profound in drawing people together. Robotic satellites and space explorers have shown us the beauty of the Earth, the global interdependence of the environment and the worldwide impact which can be caused by man's misuse. Participants of the Congress particularly note the necessity of uniting the efforts of different countries to control serious ecological changes, such as global warming. Observations of the Earth's environment have immensely strengthened our conviction towards stewardship of our home planet.

One of the primary goals of the Association is to widely disseminate information about space exploration, particularly to young people. It is well established that space exploration can be a tremendous stimulus to education, exciting the interest, imagination and motivation of school children around the world. A wealth of material is available at various space agencies for this purpose, but little is disseminated on an international scale. The Association strongly encourages the spacefaring nations to make educationally-related space exploration material more readily available internationally. The international aspect of space exploration can add even greater stimulus to young people's education and thus, in the spirit of this year's theme, help draw the children of the world together.

As we look to the future, the Association of Space Explorers is extremely excited at the prospect of international cooperation in space research and exploration. The opportunities for international collaboration are growing on a daily basis, and, more importantly, the tremendous benefits from such partnerships are becoming universally recognized. All inhabitants of Earth will benefit from the unique knowledge to be gained, the close personal association among the partners of international missions, and the sharing of resources need to accomplish such missions. Consequently, the Association of Space Explorers strongly encourages the nations of the world to continue increasing the level of international cooperation in space, both in low Earth orbit and in the exploration of the moon and planets. In 1987 at the ASE's 3rd Planetary Congress, we urged the spacefaring nations to investigate the feasibility of an international mission to Mars. Now that this concept is widely accepted, we encourage a further step. We believe it is now time for governments to establish the basic understandings and preliminary framework that will permit joint planning for such a mission.

The Association will continue to support the space programs of the members' nations, regional space organizations and international technical societies to enhance achievements of international endeavors in space.

VI Congress Photos


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