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December 28, 2009 - Robot Revisited

Robot Revisited Biochemist, science popularizer, prolific author of science fiction and fact: all of this describes Isaac Asimov, born ninety years ago this week. The author of nearly 500 books and more than 1,500 essays, Asimov is perhaps best known for one of his earliest successes, I, Robot. This 1950 book was a collection of short stories that revolved around the theme of robots. The robots in Asimov’s stories run the gamut from primitive mechanical creations to nearly human marvels. Asimov, who died in 1992, would have enjoyed seeing the Mars Rover Spirit (above) exploring Gusev crater on Mars. Spirit’s discoveries would have appealed to Asimov the scientist, and its place in the technological pedigree of increasingly intelligent robotic emissaries would have pleased Asimov the visionary.

Image credit: Marco Di Lorenzo, Douglas Ellison, Bernhard Braun, and Kenneth Kremer. NASA/JPL/Cornell/Aviation Week & Space Technology

Weekly Calendar

December 28, 2009 - January 3, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 28

1882: Arthur Eddington born

Moon phase Tuesday 29

Jupiter 0.6° north of Moon

1980: STS-1 leaves Vehicle Assembly Building and rolls out to launch pad

Moon phase Wednesday 30

1906: Sergei Korolev born
1957
: Wernher von Braun proposes the Saturn-class launch vehicle

Moon phase Thursday 31

New Year's Eve

Full Moon 2:13 PM

1864: Robert Aitken born
2004: Cassini makes first flyby of Iapetus

Moon phase Friday 1

New Year's Day

Moon at perigee

1801: Giuseppe Piazzi discovers asteroid Ceres

Moon phase Saturday 2

Earth at perihelion

1900: Leslie Peltier born
1920: Isaac Asimov born
1959: Luna 1 is first spacecraft to leave Earth’s gravitational field
1972: Mariner 9 begins mapping Mars
2004: Stardust encounters Comet Wild 2

Moon phase Sunday 3

Mars 7° north of Moon
Quadrantid meteor shower

1962: NASA publicly announces and names Gemini program
2004: Mars rover Spirit lands

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