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July 13, 2015 - The End of Civilization

The End of Civilization  Up until the mid-1960s, no one was quite sure if a civilization existed on Mars. Surface markings seen through ground-based telescopes were variously interpreted as vegetative growth, outlines of cities, even canals to transport water from the Martian poles to the arid equatorial regions. Fifty years ago this week, the Mariner 4 spacecraft ended the debate when it passed within 9,846 km (6,118 mi) of Mars and returned twenty-one photos that revealed a barren, battered planet with no signs of civilization. Despite its lack of cities, Mars continues to fascinate us, and our efforts to understand it have grown increasingly sophisticated. Among the spacecraft now studying Mars up close is the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which created this digital model of an ancient river delta.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

Weekly Calendar

July 13-19, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 13

1995: STS-70 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 14

1965: Mariner 4 completes first successful flyby of Mars
1967: Surveyor 4 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 15

New Moon 9:24 PM ET

1975: Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (Apollo 18) launched, last Apollo mission
2004: Aura satellite launched
2009: STS-127 Endeavour launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-05M launched carrying ISS Expedition 32/33 crew

Moon phase Thursday 16

1969: Apollo 11 launched
1994: First fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter
2011: Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta

Moon phase Friday 17

1850: John Adams Whipple takes first stellar photograph (Vega)
1970: Final HL-10 lifting body flight
1975: Apollo-Soyuz dock in orbit
1984: Soyuz T-12 launched, 100th human space flight

Moon phase Saturday 18

Jupiter 4° north of Moon
Venus 0.4° north of Moon

1921: John Glenn born
1966:
Gemini X launched
1980: India becomes seventh nation to launch its own satellite

Moon phase Sunday 19

1846: Edward Pickering born
1967: Explorer 35 launched
1985: NASA selects Christa McAuliffe as first teacher to travel in space

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