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On this day in 2003 – January 22nd – Pioneer 10's last signal was received.

Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt, and later the first to pass the orbit of Pluto. Originally designed for a 21-month mission, it functioned for more than 30 years.


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On this day in 1986 – January 24th – Voyager 2 flew past Uranus.

This fly-by was the first and only visit of a spacecraft to Uranus.


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On this day in 1736 – January 25th – French-Italian mathematician Joseph Lagrange was born in Turin, Italy.

Lagrange was one of the great minds of the 18th century, and his work included major contributions to physics and astronomy. He's best known now for his identification of equilibrium points between the gravity of the Earth and that the Sun. NASA's SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) sits at one of these points, and the James Webb Space Telescope at another.


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On this day in 1983 – January 25th – the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) was launched.

IRAS, a joint project of NASA (USA), NIVR (Netherlands) and SERC (UK), was the first space telescope to carry out a survey of the whole night sky at infrared wavelengths.


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On this day in 1994 – January 25th – Clementine was launched.

Over a period of nearly four months, the US spacecraft Clementine made scientific observations of the Moon. In addition, the craft was used to test the effects on sensors and components of extended exposure to space.


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On this day in 2004 – January 25th – the Mars rover Opportunity landed on the red planet.

The mission was designed to last 90 Martian days, but it was operational until the summer of 2018 when an exceptionally severe dust storm blanketed Mars for three months. The rover didn't recover from the loss of power, and the mission was officially brought to an end in February 2019.


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so, do you think rather than NASA in the limelight with expeditions, it will go private?

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so, do you think rather than NASA in the limelight with expeditions, it will go private?

Hard to say. But the Space Station - which is an international enterprise - is reaching the end of its operational capacity by the end of this decade. Here is an interesting article about possible private development.

Hard to say about the rest. And we have to remember that NASA isn't the only space agency and it's been collaborating with the agencies of other countries.


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On this day in 1978 – January 26th – the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) was launched.

The IUE was a joint effort by the European Space Agency (ESA), the UK Science Research Council and NASA. It was switched off in 1996, after it had worked 14 years beyond its planned lifetime.


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On this day in 1829 – January 27th – pioneering astrophotographer Isaac Roberts was born in Groes Bach, Henllan, Denbighshire, Wales.

Roberts was an amateur astronomer and a fellow of the Royal Geological Society. He developed a photographic technique which made it possible to capture faint objects. Roberts's photograph of the Andromeda Nebula actually showed the spiral structure of M31.


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