This Day In History
This Day In History
Wednesday, December 19, 2018


January 3, 1999

The Mars Polar Lander...
The Mars Polar Lander is launched. The Mars Polar Lander, also referred to as the Mars Surveyor '98 Lander, was a 290-kilogram robotic spacecraft lander, launched by NASA on January 3, 1999, to study the soil and climate of Planum Australe, a region near the south pole on Mars, as part of the Mars Surveyor '98 mission. However, on December 3, 1999, after the descent phase was expected to be complete, the lander failed to reestablish communication with Earth. It was determined the most likely cause of the mishap was an improperly ceased engine firing prior to the lander touching the surface, causing the lander to impact at a high velocity.
space, Mars

January 4, 2004

Spirit, a NASA Mars...
Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, lands successfully on Mars at 04:35 UTC. Spirit, MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover – A), is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity (MER-B), landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition. The rover became stuck in late 2009, and its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.
Spirit, space, Mars, NASA

November 28, 1964

NASA launches the Mariner...
NASA launches the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars. Mariner 4 was the fourth in a series of spacecraft intended for planetary exploration in a flyby mode and performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. It captured the first images of another planet ever returned from deep space; their depiction of a cratered, seemingly dead world largely changed the view of the scientific community on life on Mars.Mariner 4 was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. Other mission objectives were to perform field and particle measurements in interplanetary space in the vicinity of Mars and to provide experience in and knowledge of the engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration. On December 21, 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated.
Mariner program, Mariner 4, NASA, space, Mars

January 25, 2004

Opportunity rover lands on...
Opportunity rover lands on surface of Mars. Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B), is a robotic rover on the planet Mars, active since 2004. It is the remaining rover in NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Launched from Earth on 7 July 2003, it landed on the Martian Meridiani Planum on 25 January 2004 at 05:05 Ground UTC (about 13:15 local time), three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet.
Opportunity, Mars, space

Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell
(March 13, 1855 - November 12, 1916)
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death. The choice of the name Pluto and its symbol were partly influenced by his initials PL.
American astronomer, astronomer, businessman, Mars

May 30, 1971

<i>Mariner 9</i> is launched...
Mariner 9 is launched to map 70% of the surface, and to study temporal changes in the atmosphere and surface, of Mars. Mariner 9 is a NASA space orbiter that helped in the exploration of Mars and was part of the Mariner program. Mariner 9 was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached the planet on November 14 of the same year, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet — only narrowly beating Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust-storms it managed to send back clear pictures of the surface.
Mariner program, Mariner 9, Mars, space
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