This Day In Astro History





2010 - Mars Express Phobos Flyby


Apollo 9 Mission Patch

March 3

2005 - Combining observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope and ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, astronomers announced the discovery of the most distant, very massive structure in the Universe known so far. "It is a remote cluster of galaxies that is found to weigh as much as several thousand galaxies like our own Milky Way and is located no less than 9,000 million light-years away." ESO PR. Christopher Mullis, University of Michigan; Piero Rosati, European Southern Observatory; Hans Boehringer, Max-Planck-Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik.

1969 - Apollo 9 (USA) is launched. The astronaut crew performs critical tests of the Lunar Module and command/Service Module in Earth orbit, before the next members of the fleet journey to Luna three times later that year. This was the first time the LM was flown manned in space. Apollo 5 was the first time the LM was sent into space (in 1968), but it was an unmanned test.

1959 - Pioneer 4 (USA) was launched by a Juno II rocket and was the first successful Moon mission by the United States. It missed the Moon by 59,500 km instead of the planned 32,000 km, which made the camera-triggering test ineffective, but it sent back excellent data on radiation with its geiger counters. After passing by the Moon, Pioneer 4 went into solar orbit, the second ever spacecraft to do so. The spacecraft was tracked for 84 hours to a tracking record distance of 654,860 km before contact was lost on March 6, 1959 when the batteries became depleted. It fell into solar orbit becoming the first USA sun orbiter.

A color composite image of an XMM-Newton X-ray image (orange channel) and ESO-VLT optical/near-infrared images (red, green, and blue channels). Old cluster galaxies are the small red objects and the diffuse, hot gas is revealed by the X-ray emission.


2013 - SpaceX Dragon 2 docks with ISS.
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene