On January 15, 2004, NASA’s Opportunity rover landed on Mars (in Meridiani Planum), three weeks after its twin, Spirit, touched down on the other side of the red planet on January 4.
Category Archives: This Day in Science, Technology, Astronomy, and Space Exploration History
The first Uranus flyby was performed by Voyager 2 on January 24, 1986
On January 24, 1986, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft performed the first (and as of 2023, the only so far) Uranus flyby in the history of space exploration.
Neptune became the outermost planet on January 21, 1979
On January 21, 1979, a rare phenomenon occurred in our solar system: Neptune, the 8th planet from the Sun, took over Pluto and became the outermost planet as Pluto moved closer due to their highly elliptical orbits. Pluto was still a planet back then (good old days!).
The first soft landing on Titan was performed by the Huygens spacecraft on January 14, 2005
On January 14, 2005, the Huygens spacecraft, the atmospheric entry robotic probe part of the Casini-Huygens mission performed the first soft landing on Titan. As of 2023, it is the only one accomplished in the outer Solar System and was also the first on a moon other than Earth’s, and the most distant landing ever.
The first soft landing on another planet (Venus) was performed by Venera 7 on December 15, 1970
On December 15, 1970, Soviet Union’s Venera 7 spacecraft landed on Venus’ surface and became the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on another planet. It also transmitted information to Earth for 53 minutes, 23 minutes of them from the Venusian surface, another first in the history of space exploration (the first data transmission …
Continue reading “The first soft landing on another planet (Venus) was performed by Venera 7 on December 15, 1970”
Mars Pathfinder was launched on December 4, 1996
On December 4, 1996, Mars Pathfinder, a robotic spacecraft that was designed primarily to demonstrate a low-cost way of delivering a set of science instruments and a free-ranging rover (Sojourner) to the Martian Surface was launched from Cape Canaveral on top of a Delta II rocket.
The first soft Mars landing was performed on December 2, 1971
On December 2, 1971, Soviet Union’s Mars 3 robotic space probe performed the first soft Mars landing. But, just 110 seconds after the landing, and 20 seconds after the transmissions has begun, it failed and transmitted just a gray image with no details. Although having no scientific value, this was the first transmission ever from …
Continue reading “The first soft Mars landing was performed on December 2, 1971”
International Space Station was launched on November 20, 1998
On November 20, 1998, the first element of the International Space Station, the Russian module Zarya (which means “Sunrise” in Russian) was launched into space on top of a Proton rocket. It was the first step towards more than two decades of international cooperation, scientific research, and discovery.
The first photo of Earth from space [October 24, 1946]
The first photo of Earth from space was taken by a captured German V-2 rocket (V2 #13) on October 24, 1946. The rocket was launched from the White Sands Missile Range carrying a 35mm motion picture camera onboard. The camera also recorded the first footage of Earth from space, snapping an image every second and …
Continue reading “The first photo of Earth from space [October 24, 1946]”
Venera 9 landed on Venus and took the first photos from the surface of another planet on October 22, 1975
On October 22, 1975, Soviet Union’s Venera 9 spacecraft landed on Venus and took the first photos from the surface of another planet.