This Day In Astro History

last image from the moon
The last image of Earth taken from the Moon. - Apollo 17

December 19

Canadian2012 - Commander Chris Hadfield launches to the International Space Station for Expedition 34/35.

1999 - Discovery STS103 launched to perform the Third Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission.  7 days, 23 hours, 10 minutes, 47 seconds. Three EVA's were completed.

1972 - The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.

1852 - Birthday, Albert Abraham Michelson. German-born American physicist who won the 1907 Nobel Prize in physics for developing extremely precise instruments and conducting important investigations with them, becoming the first American citizen to earn a Nobel Prize.
"With untiring eagerness and, it can truly be said, with brilliant results, work is forging ahead today in every field of research in the natural sciences, and new information of ever greater significance is accumulating every day in unprecedented profusion. This is especially true in the case of the exact sciences - astronomy and physics - in which fields we are now obtaining solutions to problems, the mere mention of which up till a short while ago had to be regarded as unreal as Utopia itself. The reason for this gratifying development may be found in improvements in the methods and means of making observations and experiments, and also in the increase in accuracy brought about by these improvements in the quantitative examination of observed phenomena." -- Nobel Presentation Speech

1714 - John Winthrop, American professor (Harvard) of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, is born. "He was noted for attempting to explain the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 as a scientific—rather than religious—phenomenon, and his application of mathematical computations to earthquake activity following the great quake has formed the basis of the claim made on his behalf as the founder of the science of seismology." He observed two transits of Mercury and traveled to Newfoundland to observe a transit of Venus.
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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