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On this day in 1960 – April 11th – Project Ozma began.

Cornell University astronomer Frank Drake initiated this project. It was a pioneering SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) experiment that searched for signs of life in distant planetary systems by monitoring interstellar radio waves.


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On this day in 1970 – April 11th – NASA's Apollo 13 Moon mission was launched.

This was the ill-fated mission that didn't make it onto the Moon, but with the assistance of a lot of smart and dedicated people, the astronauts made it safely back to Earth. The crew does however hold the record for having travelled the farthest distance into space of any humans. They were 400,171 km (248,655 mi) away from Earth on April 14, 1970.


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On this day in 1984 – April 11th – the crew of the space shuttle Challenger redeployed the Solar Max satellite following their retrieval and repair of it.


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On this day in 1986 – April 11th – Halley's Comet was at its closest to the Earth.


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On this day in 2006 – April 11th – ESA's Venus Express was inserted into orbit around Venus.

The mission provided an enormous amount of data on the Venusian atmosphere until the European Space Agency concluded it in December 2014. In addition to helping to understand the atmosphere of Venus, it also contributed to an a general understanding of atmospheric dynamics in general, including climate change on Earth.


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We are still busy searching for information but the general public never hears about the findings; only a select few. As a result, the public's knowledge is tamped down.

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We are still busy searching for information but the general public never hears about the findings; only a select few. As a result, the public's knowledge is tamped down.

Angie, I find the opposite. There is much more information available than anyone can possibly deal with. And I think only a small fraction of the public are even interested. Findings have to compete in the media with wars, bad behaviour by movie stars and star athletes, and all that stuff. Space agencies are keen to let the public know what they've found out. Research groups that make discoveries are also keen to make them known.

If I read all the interesting stuff that comes into my inbox every day, I wouldn't have time for anything else!


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On this day in 1961 – April 12th – Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first spaceman.

Gagarin made the historic first orbit of the Earth in the Vostok 1 craft.


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On this day in 1851 – April 12th – English astronomer Edward Walter Maunder was born in London.

He was a founder member of the British Astronomical Association, but is probably best remembered for his solar observing and the study of sunspots, in particular his discovery that very few sunspots had been seen during the years 1645 to 1715, a period which is now known as the Maunder Minimum.


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And I think only a small fraction of the public are even interested. Findings have to compete in the media with wars, bad behaviour by movie stars and star athletes, and all that stuff.

The above is true. I get Discover magazine and it is chock full of information but you just don't hear about some things on the news anymore. I recall clipping and saving articles about breaking the sound barrier, astronomy, etc in the paper. Now you don't see anything like that nor on the news. Like you, we have to go out of our way by subscribing either to magazines or email updates for information. I am glad we are curious researchers.

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