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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 Battista Riccioli was born in Ferrera.

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 use 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 the 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, launched by the Soviet Union, 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 1724 – April 22nd – the German philosopher Immanuel Kant was born in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia).

His theoretical work in astronomy and cosmology anticipated and inspired later discoveries about our Galaxy and others, including the idea that the Solar System was a part of a system of stars constituting a lens-shaped galaxy, and that there were many other galaxies scattered throughout and making up the whole Universe.


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On this day in 1858 – April 23rd – Max Planck was born in Kiel, Germany.

Planck was a 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 1957 – April 24th – in Britain, the first ever broadcast of the BBC's monthly documentary television programme, The Sky at Night, was aired.

The show was presented by Patrick Moore from its first airing until his death in 2012. It's been the longest-running program with the same presenter in television history, and continues to air with various astronomers presenting.


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

Dongfanghong I had a design life of 20 days. During that time, it transmitted telemetry data and space readings to the Earth.


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On this day in 1990 – April 25th – the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed.

The Space Shuttle Discovery successfully launched the telescope during its STS-31 mission.


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