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On this day in 1966 - August 23rd - NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first picture of the Earth ever taken from the Moon.

The spacecraft's primary mission was to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

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I went to our Science Museum today (in Richmond VA). They had an exhibit on Pompeii and an imax movie on volcanos. The view is amazing when you take a photo from space. The first picture of Earth wasn't taken in color. Earth sure is beautiful.

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On this day in 2006 - August 24th - a vote by the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union changed the classification of Pluto from planet to the new category dwarf planet.

Pluto's small size - smaller than the Moon - and highly elliptical tilted orbit which overlaps with that of Neptune were two of the main reasons.




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On this day in 2003 - August 25th - NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was launched.

Spitzer is an infrared telescope. Although it lost much of its capability in 2009 when the coolant ran out, one instrument is still functioning and providing valuable data. However NASA is ending the mission on January 30, 2020

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On this day in 1989 - August 25th - NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past Neptune.

Voyager 2 is still the only spacecraft to have visited Neptune.

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On this day in 1609 - August 25th - Galileo Galilei made the first recorded demonstration of a telescope.

He demonstrated one he had made to Venetian lawmakers - it had a magnification about 8 or 9.

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On this day in 1918 - August 26th - Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson was born.

Katherine Johnson is an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were important for the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights.

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On this day in 1962 - August 27th - NASA's Mariner 2 spacecraft was launched.

This space probe to Venus was the first robotic space probe to conduct a successful planetary encounter.

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On this day in 1789 - August 28th - William Herschel discovered Enceladus, moon of Saturn.

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On this day in 1993 - August 28th - NASA's Galileo spacecraft did a flyby of asteroid Ida.

Galileo was an unmanned spacecraft that probed the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as some other Solar System objects on its way to the Jovian system.

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