It happened today…

Published On: September 21, 2012

Space ShuttleNASA donates the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour, stripped of working engines and other vital equipment, to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The last shuttle to be built, construction on Endeavour began in 1988 from spare parts to replace the destroyed Challenger; Endeavour lifted off for the first time in 1992, ultimately flying 25 missions, including many of the International Space Station construction missions. This also marks the final flight of the modified Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, which flew for the first time in 1977.

Published On: September 21, 2003

GalileoThe mission of the unmanned space probe Galileo ends in the clouds of the giant planet Jupiter, which it has orbited for eight years. Even as Galileo plunges toward Jupiter, it detects and reports evidence of a thin ring sharing the orbit of the small moon Amalthea, and then disintegrates as it falls into Jupiter. NASA has opted to send Galileo to its destruction, rather than risking a collision with Europa, which may harbor some of the ingredients necessary for life and might be contaminated if Galileo impacted it; Galileo’s mission was extended three times, with the vehicle lasting six years longer than anticipated in the original mission plan’s estimates, which included for the harsh radiation environment of Jupiter as a factor in expecting only a two-year mission.

Published On: September 21, 2001

MIT Press publishes Van Burnham’s non-fictional history of the video game industry and its products, “Supercade“. Covering developments from Spacewar! and the Magnavox Odyssey through the Playstation era, “Supercade” is a coffee table book lavishly illustrated with emulator screen shots (and some surprisingly low-resolution digital photos and scans) and numerous essays by various authors on arcade and console games of note.

More about Computer / Video Game books in Book Reviews

Published On: September 21, 1982

Mr. Do!Universal (a video game manufacturer unrelated to the Hollywood studio of the same name) introduces a cute arcade action game, Mr. Do!, casting players as a clown with a deadly weapon to use against underground monsters. Mr. Do! leads a revolution in the video game industry not with its game play, but with its form factor: it is sold as a conversion kit which can be plugged into a generic arcade cabinet, a concept which could potentially save arcade operators thousands of dollars by sparing them the expense of having to purchase an entire new machine to swap out games.

More about Mr. Do! in Phosphor Dot Fossils

Published On: September 21, 1979

Atari 400Atari introduces the Atari 400 and Atari 800 home computers, one of the company’s first major product lines to show the imprint of Warner Communications. With only 8K of RAM (expandable to 16K), the Atari 400 (shown here) is intended to be more of a game machine, while the 48K Atari 800, with an actual keyboard, is intended to make inroads into the increasingly crowded home computer market. The same basic architecture, with significant modifications, will form the core of Atari’s next-generation video game console, the Atari 5200, which will be released in 1982.

More about Atari Home Computers in Phosphor Dot Fossils

Published On: September 21, 1974

Mercury by Mariner 10NASA’s unmanned space probe Mariner 10 makes its second pass of the planet Mercury, six months after its first flyby. This time Mariner passes under the planet’s south pole, getting the first views of that part of Mercury, but barely flying within 30,000 miles of the surface. Once again, following its encounter with Mercury, Mariner 10 slipped into a solar orbit that would bring it back to Mercury several months later.

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