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On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave a stirring speech to a joint session of Congress, inspiring a nation to land humans on the moon with a decade.
Alan Shepard became the 1st American in space on May 5, 1961. His suborbital flight took place just 3 weeks after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth once.
John Burroughs – born in 1837 – was one of the first nature writers. He was the first to say, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
The earthquake – centered in Prince William Sound off the coast of south-central Alaska – was the most powerful yet recorded in North America at magnitude 9.2.
It was the first planet found since ancient times. William Herschel noticed it in 1781 during a routine survey of the stars.
Yuri Gagarin was a Russian pilot who became the first human to travel to space, in 1961. His story … plus links to a Yuri’s Night near you.
On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the 1st American to orbit Earth and the first American space hero.
Coolest space launch ever! Watch what happened when a spacecraft launch destroyed a sundog, in the process bringing to light a new form of ice halo.
The February 9, 1913 meteors crossed the sky in formation, on nearly identical paths. Their pace across the sky was described as “stately” and “measured.”
In January 1986, Voyager 2 became the first and, so far, the only craft from Earth to see Uranus up close. It discovered a magnetic field and radiation belts, 2 new rings and 10 new moons.
On January 16, 1909, a team of Antarctic explorers thought they’d found the magnetic south pole. Then, a few years later, they began to have doubts.
Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643. His insights laid a foundation for our modern understanding of celestial motion, light and gravity.
Some historians believe Luna 1 – a Soviet spacecraft – was supposed to hit the moon. It didn’t but it was the first earthly craft to reach the moon, and sweep past.
Check out one of the world’s most famous early photos. It shows the Wright brothers and the 1st true airplane on December 17, 1903.
He’s the astronomer for whom Halley’s Comet is named. It was the first comet ever predicted to return.
Sputnik’s unassuming beep ushered in the Space Age. Hear it here.
Mass and energy are interchangeable.
First photo of Earth from the moon, released it in 1966. Later, NASA used modern digital technology to restore the photo, revealing more detail.
American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos, one of the two Martian moons, on this date in 1877. Did he imagine how well we’d see Mars’ moons today?
40th anniversary of the first fully successful soft landing on Mars’ surface, by the Viking 1 spacecraft. First images from Mars’ surface, here.
See the Dragon’s Eyes on June evenings
El Capitan on 1st day of summer