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January 21, 2019 - Amazing Opportunity

Amazing Opportunity  Fifteen years ago this week, the second of NASA’s twin robotic rovers, Opportunity, landed on Mars. Opportunity was expected to function for three months and travel a bit more than a kilometer on the Martian surface, but as of mid-2018, when contact with it was lost, Opportunity had set an extraterrestrial distance record of over 45 km (28 mi) on Meridiani Planum, where it found deposits of the mineral hematite that suggest that Mars had a wet past. Although it suffered from a stiff shoulder joint in its robotic arm and a build-up of dust on its solar panels, Opportunity's performance wildly exceeded expectations. Its twin rover, Spirit, operated until 2010. This image combines an artist’s concept of Opportunity (shown to scale) on the rim of the Victoria Crater, where the rover spent a year exploring.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Solar System Visualization Team

Weekly Calendar

January 21 - 27, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 21

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Full Moon 12:16 AM ET

2018: First orbital launch from New Zealand

Moon phase Tuesday 22

Venus 2° north of Jupiter

1968: Apollo 5 launched
1978: First automatic resupply ship docking (Progress 1)
1992: STS-42 Discovery launched
1998: STS-89 Endeavour launched
2003: Pioneer 10’s last signal to Earth

Moon phase Wednesday 23

Moon phase Thursday 24

1978: Cosmos 954 satellite reenters atmosphere over Canada
1985: STS-51C Discovery launched
1986: Voyager 2 flies past Uranus
1992: Magellan begins third mapping cycle of Venus

Moon phase Friday 25

1736: Joseph Lagrange born
1962: NASA authorizes Saturn V rocket
1983: IRAS launched
1994: Clementine spacecraft launched
2004: Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity lands

Moon phase Saturday 26

Moon phase Sunday 27

Last Qtr Moon 4:10 PM ET

1829: Isaac Roberts born, pioneer astrophotographer
1967: Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee die in cockpit fire on launch pad during test

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