This Day In Astro History

False color image of Pluto
False color image of Pluto

Mariner 4 image of Mars
The first close-up image ever taken of Mars.
Mariner 4
Mariner 4

Comet C/199S4
Comet C/1999S4 - CXC

Fullerene - aka BuckyBall

July 14

"Pluto encounter" by NASA/JHU APL/SwRI

2015 - First ever visit to Pluto and it's Moons. New Horizons, a NASA flyby mission launched January 19, 2006, flies within 12,500 km (7,800 mi) of Pluto and 28,800 km (17,900 mi) of it's moon Charon.

2000 - A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth.

2000 - The Chandra X-Ray Observatory observes X-rays from oxygen and nitrogen ions of comet C/1999 S4 shows that the X-rays emitted from comets are produced by collisions of ions racing away from the sun (solar wind) with gas in the comet.

1999 - Geochemist Luann Becker, a University of Hawaii researcher and  NASA colleagues Theodore E. Bunch and Louis J. Allamandola  announce their discovery of the presence of fullerene carbon molecules in the 4.6-billion-year-old Allende meteorite. This form of carbon,  previously made in the laboratory is shown to exist in nature. "The finding  indicates that the pure carbon molecules known as fullerenes could have  been a factor in the early history of Earth and might even have played a role in the origin of life." Because the multiple atoms in the molecule form a hollow, closed cage  that can trap gasses inside, they may have delivered from their stellar  birthplace both the carbon that is an essential element to life and the  volatiles that contributed to the planetary atmospheres needed for the  origin of life. At the very least, the molecules and their contents will tell  scientists more about the early solar nebula or presolar dust existing when  meteorites like Allende were formed." - University of Hawaii

1965 - First flyby of Mars; Mariner 4. A 228 day cruise to Mars provided the first close-up images of the red planet., Mariner 4 passed Mars at a distance of 9,846 kilometers.

1936 - Birthday, Robert Franklyn Overmyer, who was an American test pilot, Colonel in the United States Marine Corps and NASA astronaut who flew as pilot on STS-5 and as commander on STS-51-B. Time in space 12d 02h 22m. Overmyer died on March 22, 1996, in Duluth, Minnesota, in the crash of a Cirrus VK-30, a light aircraft he was testing.
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene