Spacecraft Lands on an Asteroid

ErosFebruary 12, 2001

The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touches down in the “saddle” region of asteroid 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

She Was Also Famous for Tennis

Anna Kournikova VirusFebruary 12, 2001

Jan de Wit sends out an email stating that it is a picture of the famous tennis player Anna Kournikova. Rather than being a picture of the Russian known more for her looks than her play (although she was ranked as high as #8 in the world in singles and #1 in doubles), it was a malicious script that tried to send itself to every address in a user’s address book and e-mail inbox (Windows users only, of course). The malware was so efficient, it was known to be spreading twice as fast as the “Love Bug” virus that devastated corporate networks a year earlier. The moral of the story is that men are easily manipulated.

First Long Distance Telephone Call Made

Bell PlaqueFebruary 12, 1877

Alexander Graham Bell makes the first long distance telephone call between Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. No witches were hung at this time.

Discovery Launches to Service Hubble

STS-82February 11, 1997

The Space Shuttle Discovery is launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This was the second of five missions necessary to fix the flawed telescope. In most states, the entire thing could have been replaced as a lemon.

Titan-Centaur Fails First Test, Yet Mission Successful

Centaur RocketFebruary 11, 1974

The first Titan-Centaur rocket test launch fails. However the test was successful enough that no more tests were performed and this rocket design was used 6 more times successfully. Scientists are strange.

Osumi!

OsumiFebruary 11, 1970

Japan launches Osumi, their first satellite. By doing so, Japan becomes the 4th nation to put a satellite in orbit.

Satellites Collide!

Iridium SatelliteFebruary 10, 2009

The communication satellites Iridium 33 and Kosmos-2251 collide in orbit, destroying both. This was the first major collision of satellites in Earth orbit.

A Computer Defeats a World Chess Champion

Kasparov vs. Deep BlueFebruary 10, 1996

World chess champion Garry Kasparov loses a game to the computer Deep Blue during a match set up using standard championship rules. This was the first time a computer defeated a world chess champion using these rules (although chess computers had been kicking my butt since the 1980’s). Kasparov went on to defeat Deep Blue 4-2 during this match. However, he lost to Deep Blue a year later, marking the first time a computer defeated a world chess champion in a match.

Galileo Flies by Venus

GalileoFebruary 10, 1990

The spacecraft Galileo flies by Venus on its way to Jupiter. Galileo used the flyby of Venus along with two flybys of Earth as a “gravitational slingshot” in order to reach Jupiter with the least amount of fuel.

Introduction of the Bandai Pippin

Bandai PippinFebruary 9, 1996

The Bandai Pippin is introduced. A little-known “multimedia device” using technology licensed from Apple Computer, it was an ill-fated attempt at a home video game console. It was 22nd on PC World’s list of the “25 Worst Tech Products of All Time”.

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