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Space

1972 – The leap second

30 June

The first leap second is added to the UTC time system on this day in 1972. Continue reading “1972 – The leap second”

1908 – The Tunguska event

30 June

The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Stony Tunguska River, in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russian Empire, on this day in 1908.

Continue reading “1908 – The Tunguska event”

2001 – Mars Odyssey is launched

7 April

2001 Mars Odyssey is a robotic spacecraft orbiting the planet Mars. The project was developed by NASA, and contracted out to Lockheed Martin, with an expected cost for the entire mission of US$297 million. Its mission is to use spectrometers and a thermal imager to detect evidence of past or present water and ice, as well as study the planet’s geology and radiation environment. Continue reading “2001 – Mars Odyssey is launched”

1968 – NASA launches Apollo 6

4 April

Apollo 6, launched on this day in 1968, was the second A type mission of the United States Apollo program, an unmanned test of the Saturn V launch vehicle. It was also the final unmanned Apollo test mission. Continue reading “1968 – NASA launches Apollo 6”

1997 – Heaven’s Gate mass suicides

26 March

Heaven’s Gate was an American UFO religious Millenarian group based in San Diego, California, founded in the early 1970s and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985). On this day in 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following Comet Hale–Bopp. Continue reading “1997 – Heaven’s Gate mass suicides”

1997 – The Comet Hale–Bopp has its closest approach to Earth

22 March

Comet Hale–Bopp was perhaps the most widely observed comet of the 20th century and one of the brightest seen for many decades. It was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the Great Comet of 1811. Continue reading “1997 – The Comet Hale–Bopp has its closest approach to Earth”

2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed

19 March

GRB 080319B was a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detected by the Swift satellite at 06:12 UTC on this day in 2008. The burst set a new record for the farthest object that was observable with the naked eye: it had a peak visual apparent magnitude of 5.8 and remained visible to human eyes for approximately 30 seconds. The magnitude was brighter than 9.0 for approximately 60 seconds. Continue reading “2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed”

1966 – Apollo program: Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket

26 February

The Saturn IB (pronounced “one B”, also known as the Uprated Saturn I) was an American launch vehicle commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the Apollo program. It replaced the S-IV second stage of the Saturn I with the much more powerful S-IVB, able to launch a partially fueled Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) or a fully fueled Lunar Module (LM) into low Earth orbit for early flight tests before the larger Saturn V needed for lunar flight was ready. Continue reading “1966 – Apollo program: Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket”

2005 – The Huygens probe lands on Saturn’s moon Titan

14 January

Huygens was an atmospheric entry probe that landed successfully on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005. Built and operated by the European Space Agency(ESA), it was part of the Cassini–Huygens mission and became the first spacecraft ever to land on Titan. The probe was named after the Dutch 17th-century astronomer Christiaan Huygens, who discovered Titan in 1655. Continue reading “2005 – The Huygens probe lands on Saturn’s moon Titan”

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