Jul-31:A Day of Exploration

Today is a day of great exploration in American history.


The First American Patent

First US Patent Issued to Samuel Hopkins for Potash Process



The Moon is Ready for Its Closeup

Ranger 7 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The images were to be used for scientific study, as well as selecting landing sites for the Apollo moon missions. Ranger 7 was the first of the Ranger series to be entirely successful. It transmitted 4,308 high-quality images over the last 17 minutes of flight.


Apollo Joy Ride

Apollo 15, which launched on July 26, 1971, marked the beginning of NASA’s most challenging missions to the moon. It featured the longest stay yet on the lunar surface, three moonwalks and, on this day,  the first use of a “moon buggy,” or lunar rover.  The astronauts drove the rover a total of 17.5 miles.

Footage below is from Apollo 16 (1972).



Lunar Prospector – Mission Accomplished

Lunar Prospector is the third mission selected by NASA for full development and construction as part of the Discovery Program. At a cost of $62.8 million, the 19-month mission was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of lunar outgassing events. The mission ended July 31, 1999, when the orbiter was deliberately crashed into a crater near the lunar south pole after the presence of water ice was successfully detected.

While this day is a landmark day for space travel, progress on earth has not been as good as this day involves (i)  the worst crash in Boston history when a 1973 Delta flight exploded into flames after hitting a seawall while landing killing all 89 on board and (ii)


Photo Credit: Joseph Dennedy, Boston Globe


It is also the day for the second worst aircrash in Nepal’s history, when a Thai Airways plane crashed into the side of a mountain 37 kilometres miles north of Kathmandu, killing all 99 passengers and 14 crew members.



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