Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930, by the American astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997) at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
On January 27, 1967, three NASA astronauts, Roger B. Chaffee (b. February 15, 1935), Virgil I. Grissom (b. April 3, 1926), and Edward H. White II (b. November 14, 1930) died when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best …
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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 …
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.
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 …
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.