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This Date in Science

Best photos of Apollo 11 and first footsteps on moon

Apollo 11:  First human steps on the moon.

Apollo 11: First human steps on the moon.

July 20, 1969. On this date, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed their moon module on a broad dark lunar lava flow, called the Sea of Tranquility. Six hours later, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon.

Don’t believe it? Try this video: Why the Apollo moon landings could not have been faked.

This date in science: The day Earth smiled

Via  NASA/JPL/SSI/CICLOPS / Mother Jones

Via NASA/JPL/SSI/CICLOPS / Mother Jones

July 19, 2013. On this date last year, humanity acquired its third-ever image of Earth from the outer solar system, as the planet Saturn eclipsed the sun from the vantage point of an orbiting spacecraft, and as we on Earth cast our thoughts toward space. The Cassini spacecraft imaging team – led by Carolyn Porco – later dubbed this image The Day Earth Smiled. Learn more it, and see the first two images of Earth from deep space, by clicking on the links below.

This date in science: America and Russia meet in space

Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford (in foreground) and cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov make their historic handshake in space on July 17, 1975 during the joint U.S.-USSR Apollo Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) docking mission in Earth orbit. This picture was reproduced from a frame of 16mm motion picture film.  Image via NASA.

Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford (in foreground) and cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov make their historic handshake in space on July 17, 1975 during the joint U.S.-USSR Apollo Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) docking mission in Earth orbit. This picture was reproduced from a frame of 16mm motion picture film. Image via NASA.

July 17, 1975. On this date, Soviets and Americans accomplished the first joint space docking between two nations in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. It marked the cooling of a long era of tense relations between the two world superpowers. Russian Soyuz and American Apollo flights launched within seven-and-a-half hours of each other on July 15, and docked on July 17. Three hours later, the world watched on television as the two mission commanders, Tom Stafford and Alexey Leonov, exchanged the first international handshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz.

This date in science: First Telstar launch

Image credit: NASA

A model of the Telstar 1 satellite displayed at the Parade of Progress show in Cleveland in 1964. Image credit: NASA

July 10, 1962. This date marks the launch of Telstar 1, the first communications satellite capable of relaying television signals from Europe to North America, by a Delta rocket. Telstar – a 171-pound, 34.5-inch sphere loaded with transistors and covered with solar panels – relayed its first signal just hours after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first transmitted images showed an American flag outside of a receiving station in Andover, Maine.

This date in science: The Tunguska explosion

Flattened trees at site of Tunguska event. This image is from 1927, when Russian scientists were finally able to get to the scene. Photograph from the Soviet Academy of Science 1927 expedition led by Leonid Kulik.

On June 30, 1908, in a remote part of Russia, a fireball was seen streaking across the daytime sky. Within moments, something exploded in the atmosphere above Siberia’s Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The explosion released enough energy to kill reindeer and flatten trees for many kilometers around the blast site. But no cater was ever found …

This date in science: Paris Metro begins operations

The Paris Metro became a vital method of transportation throughout the city.  In this 1914 photo, French soldiers guard a subway entrance at the beginning of World War I.  Description page on Wikimedia Commons.

“Le Métro” became a vital method of transportation throughout Paris. In this 1914 photo, French soldiers guard a subway entrance at the beginning of World War I.

June 19, 1900. On this date, the subway in Paris, France began operations on Line 1 after two years of construction that involved tearing up several streets of the famed city. It was the first subway system in France and was said to symbolize a country in the forefront technologically, worldwide.

This date in science: First woman in space

Valentina Tereshkova via RIA Novosti/Wikipedia

June 16, 1963. Under the call name “Chaika” (Seagull), Valentina Tereshkova launched solo aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963 to become the first woman in space. Part of her mission was to compare how the female body reacted in space to data collected in two years of male-only missions. She spent nearly 71 hours in space, orbiting the Earth 48 times.

This date in science: Walt Whitman’s birthday

Walt Whitman as photographed by Matthew Brady.

Walt Whitman as photographed by Matthew Brady.

May 31, 1819. Walt Whitman might not have approved of having his birthday listed among great dates in science. After all, he was a poet.

This date in science: Kennedy speech ignites dreams of moon

May 25, 1961. On this date, President John F. Kennedy gave a stirring speech before a joint session of Congress, in which he declared his intention to focus U.S. efforts on landing humans on the moon within a decade. His words ignited the work of a decade, in achieving the dream of a moon landing. Among other things, he said:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

Full text of Kennedy’s speech inside.

This date in science: Dramatic space photos of Pavlof Volcano

Pavlof Volcano May 18, 2013 via ISS

Pavlof Volcano May 18, 2013 via ISS. The space station was about 475 miles south-southeast of the volcano when astronauts aboard captured this beautiful, oblique view. Photo provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. Image taken by the Expedition 36 crew.

May 18, 2013. On this date astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) captured three beautiful views of Pavlof Volcano, part of the Aleutian Arc, with a handheld Nikon D3S digital camera. As the volcano poured out lava and shot ash 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the air, the astronauts managed to capture these seldom-seen oblique views of the volcano, which are very different from the top-down views of most unmanned satellites.