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On this day in 1597 - April 13th - Giovanni Battista Hodierna was born.

Hodierna was a Sicilian astronomer at the court of the Duke of Montechiaro. Pre-dating Charles Messier by over a century, he compiled a sky catalog that included a number of nebulous objects that might be confused with comets.


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On this day in 1629 - April 14th - Dutch scientist and mathematician Christiaan Huygens was born.

Huygens was a prominent scientist in his day, his varied contributions including the invention of the pendulum clock, and the discovery of Saturn's moon Titan. NASA named its Titan lander after him.


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On this day in 1972 - April 16th - Apollo 16 was launched.

It was crewed by Commander John Young, Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly.


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On this day in 1598 - April 17th - Italian astronomer Giovanni Riccioli was born.

Riccioli's best known for his Almagestum Novum published in 1651. It included his Moon map and over 1500 folio pages densely packed with text, tables and illustrations. The work became a standard technical reference book for astronomers all over Europe and included the names of prominent lunar features still in current use.


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It's amazing to think that with all the advances in technology that we enjoy, back in ancient times the technology our ancestors had and what our ancestors accomplished. They laid the ground work for what we do today.

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On this day in 2014 - April 18th - NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) was intentionally crashed into Moon at end of its mission.

LADEE, orbiting the Moon's equator, studied the lunar exosphere and dust in the Moon's vicinity. It was crashed on the far side of the Moon to ensure that it didn't damage historically important landing sites on the near side.


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On this day in 1971 - April 19th - Salyut 1 was launched.

Salyut 1 was launched by the Soviet Union, and was the first ever manned space station.


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On this day in 1967 - April 20th - NASA's Surveyor 3 unmanned probe landed on the Moon.

In November 1969, Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean would land near the probe and remove some parts to return them to Earth.


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On this day in 1858 - April 23rd - Max Planck was born.

Planck was a German theoretical physicist best known as the originator of quantum theory. His work won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. The European Space Agency (ESA) named a space observatory for him - it mapped the cosmic microwave background from 2009-2013.


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On this day in 1970 - April 24th - China became the fifth nation to launch its own satellite.


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