Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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March 11th
Some Famous U.S. Interplanetary Probes
On March 11, 1960, NASA launched Pioneer 5, one of its first efforts to explore interplanetary space. The spacecraft orbited the sun between Earth and Venus and provided the first map of the magnetic field between planets.

Since that time, NASA has sent dozens of unmanned probes into deep space, giving humans our first glimpses of the solar system’s far reaches. Famous interplanetary probes include:

Mariner 2
First spacecraft to successfully fly by and gather data on another planet (Venus) – 1962

Mariner 4
First to transmit close-up photos of another planet (Mars) – 1964

Pioneer 10
First to investigate Jupiter and exit the planetary system – 1972

Viking 1 & 2
First to land safely on another planet (Mars) – 1975

Voyager 1
Studied Jupiter and Saturn; Voyager 1 is now the most distant man-made object in the universe – 1977

Voyager 2
Studied Jupiter and Saturn; first spacecraft to visit Uranus and Neptune – 1977

Galileo
Studied Jupiter’s atmosphere and its moons – 1989

Mars Pathfinder
Landed a rover on Mars in 1997 to explore its surface – 1996

Cassini
First spacecraft to orbit Saturn – 1997

Mars Exploration Rover
Landed two rovers on Mars in 2004 – 2003

Deep Impact
First probe to explore a comet’s interior – 2005

New Horizons
En route to study Pluto and its moons – 2006

American History Parade
1888
One of the worst blizzards in U.S. history hits the Northeast, killing some 400 people.

1918
The first U.S. cases of the Spanish flu are reported, an epidemic that kills 600,000 Americans and tens of millions worldwide.

1941
President Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Bill, which provides war supplies to countries fighting the Axis Powers.

1960
NASA launches Pioneer 5, one of the first probes to explore the solar system.

2002
Two columns of light beam skyward from ground zero in New York City in tribute to victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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