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Space History for March 19

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721 B.C.
The first recorded notation of a Lunar eclipse was made in Babylon.

In the 1st year of Mardokempad ([27th year from Nabonassar], 29/30 Thoth of the Egyptian calendar = 19/20 March 721 BC), a Lunar eclipse began well an hour after moonrise at Babylon and was total (Ptolemy's Almagest IV 6).

J Palisa discovered asteroid #326 Tamara; and M Wolf discovered asteroid #332 Siri.

A Charlois discovered asteroid #364 Isara.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #712 Boliviana.

Pluto was photographed by Percival Lowell for the first time, but it was not recognized as a planet.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #911 Agamemnon.

F Gonnessiat discovered asteroid #931 Whittemora.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #2732 Witt.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1164 Kobolda.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #1179 Mally.

C Jackson discovered asteroid #1319 Disa.

G Neujmin discovered asteroids #1379 Lomonosowa and #1434 Margot.

L Oterma discovered asteroid #2291 Kevo.

Died, Edgar Rice Burroughs, US science fiction author (Tarzan of the Apes, Mars Saga)

John Stapp made the first run on the Sonic Wind high speed rocket-driven sled on rails in Alamogordo, New Mexico, reaching a maximum speed of 421 miles per hour and experiencing 22Gs of deceleration.

A Mrkos discovered asteroid #3665.

C Torres discovered asteroid #3114 Ercilla.

Five workers were asphyxiated, two fatally, after a Space Shuttle Columbia test when they entered the nitrogen-purged engine compartment without air packs. The two deaths were the first in the US space program since the Apollo 1 fire on 27 January 1967.

The Boeing V-22 Osprey VTOL aircraft made its maiden flight.

Boeing V-22 Osprey, US Navy photograph 120209-N-RE822-273

1999 04:54:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland and Brian Jones of Britain became the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon.

Died, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction writer

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor and futurist, and a lifelong proponent of space travel. He is credited with inventing geosynchronous communication satellites, and was perhaps most famous for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey and the movie version produced in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick.

Among his memorable works are "Clarke's three laws:"

  1. "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

  2. "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

  3. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

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