. On this day in 1967 – June 12th – the Soviet Union launched the Venera 4 mission to Venus.
Venera 4 was the first probe to successfully perform in-place analysis of the environment of another planet. It may also have been the first probe to land safely on another planet, since the fate of its predecessor Venera 3 was uncertain.
. On this day in 1922 – June 12th – Italian astrophysicist and populariser of science Margherita Hack was born in Florence.
She became a full professor of astronomy at the University of Trieste and the administrator of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory, the first woman in Italy to hold either of such positions. Hack received national and international recognition for her innovations at the observatory and her promotion of astronomy to the public.
. On this day in 1831 – June 13th – Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell was born in Edinburgh.
Maxwell showed that electricity, magnetism, and light are all aspects of the same phenomenon, electromagnetism. His discoveries helped usher in the era of modern physics, laying the foundation for such fields as special relativity and quantum mechanics.
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