Doctor Who: The Trial Of A Time Lord, Part 1

Doctor WhoThe 642nd episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1, marking the series’ return to the air (and to a 25-minute episode format) and reflecting its tenuous existence by depicting the Doctor being put on trial by his fellow Time Lords. Lynda Bellingham (All Creatures Great & Small) guest stars as the Inquisitor, with Michael Jayston as the Valeyard and David Selby (Dark Shadows) as Sabalon Glitz. The first four parts of the 14-part story are the final complete storyline written by former script editor Robert Holmes, who dies during production.

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Knights Of God, Episode 1

Knights Of GodUK regional broadcaster TVS premieres the first episode of Richard Cooper’s alternate-history series Knights Of God, portraying a struggle between oppressive government and rugged resistance fighters in a post-civil-war UK. Gareth Thomas (Blake’s 7) and Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who) star; though filmed in 1985, it is Troughton’s final televised role (he died earlier in 1987). The series has never been repeated.

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Magellan tilts at Venusian windmills

MagellanNASA’s Magellan space probe, still orbiting Venus since 1990, enters a phase of slightly riskier experiments, dipping its solar panels into the upper reaches of the Venusian atmosphere and firing its reaction control engines to keep from spinning out of control. This allows for studies of the composition of Venus’ atmosphere, as well as studies of the vehicle’s behavior as it resists atmospheric friction. The results of the “windmill” experiment inform the design of future Mars probes which will need to aerobrake to slow down and enter the Martian atmosphere.

India’s Vikram lunar lander falls silent

Chandrayaan-2 and VikramIndia’s mission to safely put a lander and an autonomous rover on the surface of the moon ends with a sudden loss of data. Deployed by the successful Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, the Vikram lander (carrying the Pragyan rover) begins a powered descent to the lunar surface, only to cease communicating with ground controllers in India at an altitude of 2.1 kilometers. With the speed of Vikram’s descent at the time of data loss measured at 60 meters per second via telemetry, ground controllers declare it likely that Vikram crashed into the moon, resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload, a fate somewhat similar to that of the Israel-launched Beresheet lander earlier in the year. The orbiter continues to function, and will search for signs of water ice at the south pole of the moon.