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On this day in 1675 - August 10th - the first Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed laid the cornerstone for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

By the end of the 19th century most of the world's shipping was using navigation charts based on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich.


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On this day in 1966 - August 10th - NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 was launched.

It was the first American spacecraft to orbit the Moon.


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It's hard to believe that we accomplished that 53 years ago. How life has changed with computers and communications since then.

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On this day in 1990 - August 10th - NASA's Magellan spacecraft entered orbit around Venus to begin radar mapping of the surface.

It had been launched on May 4, 1989, the first interplanetary mission to be launched from the Space Shuttle.


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I agree, Angie. It's strange for me to think that was half a century ago and how much has changed. When I saw the movie Apollo 13 - and that was nearly a quarter of a century ago! - I was startled by seeing the guys in Mission Control with their slide rules! And how about the first cosmonauts in space? They returned to Earth by parachute, because that was safer than landing in their spacecraft. (That was a well kept secret for a long time.)


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On this day in 1877 - August 12th - American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Deimos, moon of Mars.

Moons had long since been found for all the other planets beyond Earth, so Hall's discoveries were quite a sensation.


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On this day in 2005 - August 12th - NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was launched.

Since 2006, MRO has been conducting reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit.


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On this day in 2018 - August 12th - NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP) was launched.

Its mission is to observe and probe the Sun's outer corona. In the year since its launch it has made two close passes of the Sun, and will soon be making a third one.


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On this day in 1919 - August 12th - Anglo-American astronomer Margaret Burbidge (nee Peachey) was born in Cheshire, England.

She made notable contributions to the theory of quasars, to measurements of the rotation and masses of galaxies, and to the understanding of how chemical elements are formed in the depths of stars through nuclear fusion. She was the first woman director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the first woman to be president of the American Astronomical Society.

Happy 100th birthday to one of the great astronomers of the last century!


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On this day in 1970 - August 17th - the Soviet probe Venera 7 was launched.

When it landed on the Venusian surface, it became the first spacecraft both to land on another planet and to transmit data from there back to Earth.


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