July 20, 2009 - A Sign of Things to Come

A Sign of Things to Come A familiar photograph showing an astronaut’s bootprint in the lunar soil conveys the essence of the Apollo program. Perhaps more than any other image, that understated picture symbolizes humanity’s physical presence in the triumph that was realized forty years ago this week when two astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, became the first and second humans to walk on the Moon. Though in the intervening decades of the post-Apollo period humans have left their mark on other worlds only by mechanical proxy, the tracks and treads and impacts left elsewhere by our robotic emissaries are a prelude to the day when humans are the ones leaving bootprints on Mars. The Mars rover Spirit examined its tracks one day in 2004 and sent us this image, a sign of things to come.

Image credit: NASA / JPL


Weekly Calendar

July 20-26, 2009

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 20

1969: Apollo 11 astronauts become first humans walk on Moon
1976: Viking 1 lands on Mars
1999: Liberty Bell 7 capsule recovered from Atlantic Ocean after 38 years

Moon phase Tuesday 21

New Moon 10:35 pm
Total solar eclipse (SE Asia)
Moon at perigee

1961: Liberty Bell 7 suborbital flight; capsule sinks in Atlantic Ocean
1969: Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle lifts off from Moon

Moon phase Wednesday 22

1784: Friedrich Bessel born
1994: Last fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter

Moon phase Thursday 23

1972: Landsat 1 launched
1999: STS-93 Columbia launched, deploys Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Moon phase Friday 24

1950: First rocket launched from Cape Canaveral
1969: Apollo 11 crew returns to Earth
1975: Apollo-Soyuz crew returns to Earth, last US splashdown
2009: Canaries Great Telescope dedicated

Moon phase Saturday 25

Saturn 7° north of Moon

1978: Viking 2 orbiter ceases operation
1984: Svetlana Savitskaya becomes first woman to walk in space
2000: Zvezda Service Module docks with International Space Station

Moon phase Sunday 26

1958: Explorer IV launched
1971: Apollo 15 launched, fourth lunar landing mission, first mission to use lunar rover
2005: STS-114 Discovery launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.