On September 1, 1979, NASA’s Pioneer 11 spacecraft performed the first Saturn flyby in the history of space exploration, at a distance of 21,000 km (13,000 miles) from Saturn’s cloud tops.
On August 25, 2012, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft crossed the heliopause, the theoretical boundary of our solar system where the Sun’s solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium, and became the first spacecraft in interstellar space.
On August 25, 1989, Voyager 2 performed a close Neptune flyby, giving humanity its first close-up of the eighth (and the outermost) planet of our solar system. Neptune was the spacecraft’s final planetary target. That first Neptune flyby was also the last: No other spacecraft has visited Neptune since.
On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 was launched from Cape Canaveral on top of a Titan IIIE-Centaur rocket. It launched before Voyager 1, which was sent into space on September 5, 1977.
On July 2, 1990, European Space Agency’s (ESA) Giotto spacecraft performed the first-ever earth gravity-assisted maneuver to be retargeted for its destination, Comet P/Grigg-Skjellerup.
NASA’s Cassini space probe entered Saturn’s orbit on July 1, 2004, and became the first spacecraft to orbit the ringed planet.
On June 30, 1908, at about 7:14 A.M., around the Tunguska River, a gigantic fireball devastated hundreds of square kilometers of uninhabited Siberian forest. It was about a ~12 megaton explosion, which means the blast was around 800 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
On June 22, 1978, Pluto’s moon Charon was discovered by United States Naval Observatory astronomer James Christy (born September 15, 1938).
On June 19, 1976, NASA!s Viking 1 Orbiter was inserted into Mars orbit. Both Viking 1 and Viking 2 spacecraft were consisting of an orbiter and a lander.
Busy days don’t leave much time to stare at the sky in awe. But once in a while, in the midst of looking forward, it may be time to look around – or up – at your surroundings and appreciate the view. Beyond a seemingly inky nightscape with only the occasional cloud, aircraft, or spattering …