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On this day in 2005 – January 12th – NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft was launched.

Deep Impact was the first space mission to study the interior composition of a comet.


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On this day in 1610 – January 13th – Galileo discovered a fourth satellite of Jupiter.

This was the moon we now know as Ganymede, the biggest moon in the Solar System.


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On this day in 1804 – January 13th – Scottish astronomer and author John Pringle Nichol was born.

Nichol wrote a number of books on astronomy and was a popular lecturer. When he was made the Regius Professor of Practical Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, he did much to popularize astronomy.


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On this day in 2005 – January 14th – the European Space Agency (ESA) probe Huygens landed on Saturn's moon Titan.

It was the first time a spacecraft had been landed on a moon other than our own. Here is footage of the Huygens landing on Titan.



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On this day in 2008 – January 14th – NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft made its first flyby of Mercury.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) was the second spacecraft to reach Mercury, the first having been Mariner 10 in 1975.


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On this day in 1916 – January 14th – the Royal Astronomical Society in London, founded in 1820, finally admitted the first women to full membership in the society.



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On this day in 2006 – January 15th – NASA's Stardust spacecraft completed its mission by returning its samples to Earth.

Stardust was robotic space probe whose primary mission was to collect dust samples from the coma of comet Wild 2, as well as samples of cosmic dust.


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On this day in 1969 – January 16th – the first docking of two manned spacecraft occurred.

The Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 docked in space and transferred crew from one vehicle to another by a space walk.


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On this day in 2015 – January 16th – the UK Space Agency announced that the remains of the probe Beagle 2 had been located on Mars.

The probe had been lost on Christmas Day 2003 after successful insertion into orbit by Mars Express. It was finally identified in images from the HiRise camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).


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On this day in 1647 – January 17th – Elisabetha Hevelius (née Koopmann), the second wife of Johannes Hevelius, was born.

She is considered to be one of the first European female astronomers, and is often called 'The mother of Moon charts'. Elisabetha helped her husband manage his observatory, and published two of his works after his death.


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