On this day in 2007 - February 28th - the New Horizons spacecraft flew past Jupiter en route to Pluto.
New Horizons made over 700 observations of the Jovian system, but the main reason for the flyby was to carry out a gravity assist maneuver. That boosted the speed of the spacecraft to get it to Pluto five years earlier than it would have otherwise.
On this day in 1927 - March 1st - American astronomer George Abell was born.
Abell's catalogue of galaxy clusters from the Palomar Sky Survey remains an important piece of work. But in addition to being an active professional astronomer, he was a teacher, administrator, writer and science popularizer.
On this day in 2004 - March 2nd - the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Rosetta spacecraft.
Rosetta would travel for ten years and billions of miles in order to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, accompany it as it moved through the inner Solar System past the Sun, and also deploy a lander.
On this day in 1972 - March 2nd - NASA's Pioneer 10 was launched.
Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to cross the Asteroid Belt and to complete the first mission to Jupiter. It's now over 123 AU from the Sun, heading out of the Solar System in the direction of the constellation Taurus.
On this day in 1923 - March 4th - Sir Patrick Moore, English amateur astronomer, writer and broadcaster, was born.
He was best known as the enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenter of the BBC TV program The Sky at Night, which he began in 1957. Although Sir Patrick is no longer with us, the program goes on and is the world's longest-running television series.
On this day in 2005 - March 5th - the European Space Agency (ESA) officially inaugurated its first deep space ground station.
The New Norcia facility in Western Australia was the first, but it's since been joined by stations in Spain and Argentina. Deep space tracking stations are essential for missions such as Rosetta and Mars Express.
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