The second episode of Mars airs on the National Geographic Channel. The series is a hybrid drama/documentary about a fictional human mission to Mars in 2033, contrasted against efforts to prepare for such a mission in the present day. The series is produced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).
Influential British-born visual effects artist Ron Thornton, one of the pioneer proponents of computer generated animation for television whose work stretches from classic BBC sci-fi through Babylon 5 and the Star Trek franchise, dies after a lengthy illness.
The BBC debuts the Doctor Who minisode The Last Day on the internet as part of the promotional build-up to the much-anticipated 50th anniversary special, Day Of The Doctor.
The ninth episode of the Star Trek prequel spinoff Enterprise premieres on UPN.
Featuring a variety of rare tracks, outtakes, rehearsals and live performances, and accompanied by a media blitz that includes a heavily hyped TV special, Volume 1 of The Beatles Anthology is released, featuring the new single “Free As A Bird”.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the 54th episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Jonathan Frakes guest stars as Tom Riker, the “duplicate” of Star Trek: TNG’s Commander Riker, introduced in that series’ Second Chances episode.
The second episode of Dark Season premieres on CBBC (the BBC’s children’s programming block). This is the first drama series created and written by future Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies, and is one of the earliest acting jobs in Kate Winslet’s career.
Writer and series creator J. Michael Straczynski takes to the GEnie online message service to announce that his science fiction series, Babylon 5, has gotten the go-ahead from Warner Brothers and will be the cornerstone of a new television network. He promises that the series will begin with one or two two-hour movies to set up the premise, with a series to follow in 1993, as well as revealing that the show’s visual effects will be accomplished with computer generated graphics rather than miniature models.
The 14th episode of the science fiction comedy Red Dwarf airs on BBC 2.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the 26th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, beginning the series’ second season. This episode introduces Diana Muldaur as the Enterprise’s new chief medical officer, Dr. Katherine Pulaski, and Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan. The script is actually a holdover from the aborted 1977 attempt to relaunch the original Star Trek on a Paramount network that never came together; the barely-reworked script is dug up in an attempt to get filming started as soon as possible after the end of the Writers’ Guild strike.
At a distance of nearly 60,000,000 miles from Earth, NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft cross the orbit of Mars as the twin space probes continue their outbound race toward Jupiter. Moving at 13 miles per second, Voyager 1 will overtake its identical twin, Voyager 2, at the end of 1977, with both spacecraft expected to reach Jupiter in 1979. From here, they will plunge through the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, though fears of damage occurring in this part of space have been allayed by the successful asteroid belt passage of Pioneers 10 and 11 in the early 1970s.
Construction begins on Space Shuttle Structural Test Article 099 (STA-099), a full-sized structural model of the shuttle built for stress and thermal testing. Four years later, NASA decides to abandon plans to refit the test shuttle Enterprise for space duty at great expense, instead opting to upgrade the STA-099 airframe into a spaceworthy vehicle, which will eventually be named Challenger. While the refit will still be expensive, it takes less time and money than a complete teardown and rebuild of Enterprise’s airframe, which was never intended for flight outside the atmosphere.
Written and directed by science fiction author Michael Crichton, Westworld debuts in theaters, mashing up familiar western tropes with a tale of cyborgs gone mad. Richard Benjamin (Quark), James Brolin, and Yul Brynner guest star; Majel Barrett (Star Trek) and Dick Van Patten play cameo roles. A hit for MGM, Westworld will spawn many attempts to follow up on its success, from the 1976 movie Futureworld to numerous TV revivals well into the 21st century.
The 46th episode of Doctor Who airs on the BBC. This is part one of the story now collectively known as The Dalek Invasion Of Earth, making the Daleks the first recurring enemy in the series’ history.