This Day In Astro History

August 17

2005 - Death of Dr. John N. Bahcall, (1934-2005). He was an American astrophysicist known for his contributions to the solar neutrino problem and the development of the Hubble Space Telescope.

2000 - Dr. Robert R. Gilruth, (1913-2000) an aerospace scientist, engineer, and one of the pioneers of human space flight, project leader for Mercury and Gemini, in 1992 he was invested in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame, dies at the age of 86.

1999 - Cassini's Earth Flyby at 8:28 PDT brings the spacecraft 1,166 kilometers (727 miles) over the eastern South Pacific. This is one of four planetary flybys (Venus, Venus, Earth, and Jupiter) which achieve a gravity assist for the spacecraft destined for distant Saturn in 2004. The flyby gave Cassini a 12,000 mph boost in speed. Opponents to the Cassini and its plutonium sighed a breath of relief. Cassini  is an international mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. It  is managed for NASA's Office of Space Science by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, Calif.

1980 - After over 1400 orbits Viking 1 Mars Orbiter was powered down. Launched on August 25, 1975 the Viking mission provided science with its most detailed views of Mars. One of its famous images is the "Face On Mars."

1970 - Venera 7 (USSR) launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Venus lander. It arrived at Venus on December 15, 1970, It was the first spacecraft to return data to Earth. Venera 7 also had a sister probe, launched on August 22 it remained stuck in Earth orbit. 

1966 - Pioneer 7 launch.

1877 - Mars's moon   Phobos first seen by Asaph Hall of the U.S. Naval Obs.
Image: Cassini Imaging Science Team
Cassini images the moon during Earth flyby

Cassini Gravity Assist
Cassini gets a gravity assist and Gordon Garradd gets the picture(s)!

Viking Picture of the Face on Mars
Viking 1 Picture of The Face on Mars
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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