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On this day in 1665 – March 25th – Christiaan Huygens discovered Saturn's moon Titan.

The European Space Agency (ESA) Titan lander was named for Huygens, a prominent 17th century Dutch mathematician and scientist.


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On this day in 1883 – March 25th – American astronomer Earl Carl Slipher was born in Mulberry, Indiana.

As did his older brother Vesto, Earl Slipher worked at Lowell Observatory throughout his career. He was a noted planetary astronomer and a pioneer in planetary photography. The lunar crater Slipher on the Moon's far side is named for both of them.


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On this day in 1928 – March 25th – Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell was born in Cleveland,Ohio.

Lovell flew on Gemini 7 and 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13. He was one of the first three humans to orbit the Moon during Apollo 8. He commanded Apollo 13, one of the most incredible missions in NASA history.


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On this day in 1773 – March 26th – self-educated American mathematician and astronomer Nathaniel Bowditch was born in Salem, Massachusetts.

His greatest contribution to science was his translation of Laplace’s five-volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics). It earned him an international reputation and was of great importance to the development of astronomy in the United States.


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On this day in 1972 – March 27th – the Soviet probe Venera 8 was launched.

Venera 8 made the first completely successful landing on Venus, and sent data from the surface for fifty minutes before succumbing to the intense pressure and searing temperature.


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On this day in 1802 – March 28th – Heinrich Olbers, German physician and astronomer, discovered Pallas.

Pallas was the second asteroid to be discovered, and it was counted as a planet at the time, as Ceres had been.


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On this day in 1807 – March 29th – Heinrich Olbers, German physician and astronomer, discovered Vesta.

Olbers discovered Vesta almost five years to the day after his discovery of Pallas. Vesta was the third asteroid to be discovered, and it was also counted as a planet at the time. Like Ceres, it's been visited by NASA's Dawn mission.


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On this day in 1974 – March 29th – NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft made the first ever flyby of Mercury.


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On this day in 1879 – March 30th – the German lens maker Bernhard Woldemar Schmidt was born near Tallinn in Estonia.

His name lives on in the Schmidt telescope that bears his name. He invented a telescope mirror that let astronomers get sharp wide-field images of the sky with a single exposure. They are still widely used. The most famous example is the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory, completed in 1948.


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On this day in 1997 – March 31st – the Pioneer 10 mission officially ended.

NASA's Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to go through the asteroid belt and the first to fly by Jupiter. After the end of the mission, for a time there was still contact with the spacecraft to record telemetry as it headed out into the Kuiper Belt. It's currently about 129 AU from Earth.


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