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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
Visit RaceToSpaceProject.com to find out more!

Born, Rudolf Clausius, German physicist (thermodynamics)

Rudolf Julius Emanuel Clausius (2 January 1822 - 24 August 1888), was a German physicist and mathematician. Clausius was one of the founders of the science of thermodynamics. His most important paper, on the mechanical theory of heat, published in 1850, first stated the basic ideas of the second law of thermodynamics. In 1865 he introduced the concept of entropy.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

The first photograph of the Moon was reportedly taken by French photographer Louis Daguerre, but according to a contemporary it was unfocused and was lost in a fire shortly afterward.
ref: lightsinthedark.com

Died, George Biddel Airy, English astronomer and writer, seventh Astronomer Royal (1835 to 1881)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, Leon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort, French meteorologist (stratosphere)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #814 Tauris.

Born, Isaac Asimov, Russian-born American science fiction author

Isaac Asimov (2 January 1920 - 6 April 1992) was a Russian-born United States author and biochemist, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his science books for the lay person. He also wrote mysteries (many of which were collected in the Black Widowers books) and fantasy, and has works in every major category of the Dewey Decimal System except Philosophy. He wrote or edited over 500 volumes, and an estimated 90,000 letters or postcards. Asimov was a long-time member of Mensa, albeit reluctantly (he described them as "intellectually combative"). The asteroid 5020 Asimov is named in his honor, as is Honda's humanoid prototype robot ASIMO.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1959 16:21:41 GMT
USSR launched Luna 1, the first spacecraft to leave Earth's gravity, and the first to fly by the Moon. It was also the first spacecraft to enter solar orbit.
Model of Luna 1 on display at Moskva Kosmicheskaya Courtesy of Alexander Chernov and the Virtual Space Museum, via NASA luna1_vsm.jpg
Model of Luna 1 on display at Moskva Kosmicheskaya
Courtesy of Alexander Chernov and the Virtual Space Museum, via NASA

Luna 1, launched 2 January 1959, was the first spacecraft to reach the Moon, and the first of a series of Soviet automatic interplanetary vehicles successfully launched in the direction of the Moon. The spacecraft was sphere-shaped; five antennae extended from one hemisphere. Instrument ports also protruded from the surface of the sphere. There were no propulsion systems on the Luna 1 spacecraft itself. Because of its high velocity and its announced package of various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms, it was concluded that Luna 1 was intended to impact the Moon. Luna 1 passed within 5995 km of the Moon's surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. It then went into orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

NASA's Mariner 9 began mapping Mars after the global dust storm subsided which started on 22 September 1971 and had enveloped the planet since its arrival.

Mariner 9 was launched 30 May 1971 on a 398 million km direct ascent trajectory to Mars. A planned midcourse maneuver was executed on 5 June. Mariner 9 arrived at Mars on 14 November 1971 after a 167 day flight. A 15 minute 23 second rocket burn put the spacecraft into Mars orbit, making Mariner 9 the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. The insertion orbit had a periapsis of 1398 km and a period of 12 hr, 34 min. Two days later a 6 second rocket burn changed the orbital period to just under 12 hours with a periapsis of 1387 km. A correction trim maneuver was made on 30 December on the 94th orbit which raised the periapsis to 1650 km and changed the orbital period to 11:59:28 so that synchronous data transmissions could be made to the Goldstone 64 m Deep Space Network antenna.

The Mariner Mars 71 mission was planned to consist of two spacecraft on complementary missions. Mariner 8 was to map 70% of the Martian surface, and Mariner 9 was to study temporal changes in the Martian atmosphere and on the Martian surface. The launch failure of Mariner 8 forced Mariner 9 to combine the mission objectives of both. For the survey portion of the mission, the planetary surface was to be mapped with the same resolution as planned for the original mission, although the resolution of pictures of the polar regions would be decreased due to the increased slant range. The variable features experiments were changed from studies of six given areas every 5 days to studies of smaller regions every 17 days.

Imaging of the surface of Mars by Mariner 9 was delayed by a dust storm which started on 22 September 1971 in the Noachis region. The storm quickly grew into one of the largest global storms ever observed on Mars. By the time the spacecraft arrived at Mars, no surface details could be seen except the summits of Olympus Mons and the three Tharsis volcanoes. The storm abated through November and December, and normal mapping operations began. The spacecraft gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature and also the surface composition, temperature, gravity, and topography of Mars.

The Mariner 9 mission resulted in a global mapping of the surface of Mars, including the first detailed views of the Martian volcanoes, Valles Marineris, the polar caps, and the satellites Phobos and Deimos. It also provided information on global dust storms, the triaxial figure of Mars, and the rugged gravity field as well as evidence for surface aeolian activity. A total of 54 billion bits of scientific data were returned, including 7329 images covering the entire planet.

After depleting its supply of attitude control gas, the spacecraft was turned off on 27 October 1972. Mariner 9 was left in an orbit which should not decay for at least 50 years, after which the spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere.
ref: books.google.com
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Karl-Heinz Bringer, German propulsion engineer, developer of the Viking engine, propulsion leader of the German Rocket Team in France after World War II
ref: translate.google.com

NASA's Stardust Mission spacecraft passed within 236 km (147 miles) of comet Wild 2.

The Stardust Mission spacecraft was launched 7 February 1999. The probe flew past asteroid #5535 Anne Frank on 2 November 2002, passing within 3000 km. On 2 January 2004, Stardust flew within 236 kilometers (147 miles) of Comet Wild 2 and captured thousands of particles in its aerogel collector for return on Earth on 15 January 2006. Findings from the historic encounter revealed a much stranger world than previously believed. The comet's rigid surface, dotted with towering pinnacles, plunging craters, steep cliffs, and dozens of jets spewing violently, surprised scientists.
ref: stardust.jpl.nasa.gov
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Asteroid 2014 AA, a small Apollo near-Earth asteroid roughly 2-4 meters in diameter, entered the Earth's atmosphere and struck the planet approximately 21 hours after it was discovered.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

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