This week in space/astronomy history:
1. Gerald A. Soffen (February 7, 1926 – November 22, 2000) Viking (Mars) mission manager, he moved from a successful NASA project scientists to NASA educator. He now has a crater on Mars named after him.
2. Luna 9 (3 February 1966) made the first soft landing on the Moon (or first soft landing on any other object in the Solar System). 12th attempt. Operations lasted for about 3 days. Part of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme, it was another first for the Russians… so would they get the “ultimate” first and put the first human on the Moon? Interesting side story: the Russians initially delayed releasing images from the surface – but apparently used the internationally-agreed system for transmitting newspaper images. Jodrell Bank picked up on these signals, and so British newspapers picked up the images and distributed them worldwide! Motivations? Russians wanted higher quality pictures from Jodrell Bank but wouldn’t admit to asking for them… or Russian scientists didn’t want Russian politicians to politicize the event???
3. STS 41B, Space Shuttle Challenger, launched February 3 1984, saw the debut of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Astronaut Bruce McCandless flew the MMU. The MMU flew only 3 flights before being retired.
Show notes for episode 182, January 20, 2014 Hosts: Rob B., Jesse, Pat Special Guest: Dr. Nagin Cox Title: Nagi Cox Works on Mars Time
‘One is tempted to leave one’s mark,’ and Dr. Nagin Cox certainly did on this show. We invited the systems engineer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to join us and chat about her past work on Galileo, Kepler, Cassini, Spirit & Opportunity (10 year anniversary on Mars), and her current work on the Curiosity rover. In other news, 35 years ago the Soviets donated 50 kg of Uranium to Canada and Rosetta woke up from its hibernation. This is your universe, on York Universe. Show notes and podcast below.