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Published On: November 21, 2016

MarsThe 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).

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Published On: November 21, 2016

Ron ThorntonInfluential 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.

Published On: November 21, 1991

Babylon 5Writer 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.

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Published On: November 21, 1988

Star Trek: The Next GenerationThe 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.

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Published On: November 21, 1977

VoyagerAt 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.

Published On: November 21, 1975

ChallengerConstruction 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.

Published On: November 21, 1973

WestworldWritten 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.

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