Astronomers reveal that Makemake, an icy dwarf planet orbiting in the distant Kuiper Belt region of the solar system, has a moon, first spotted in 2015 by a team using the Hubble Space Telescope. (The news comes just days after the 26th anniversary of Hubble’s launch.) With an estimated diameter of 100 miles (compared to the 870 mile diameter of its parent body), the satellite orbits Makemake at a distance of 13,000 miles, taking twelve days to complete one orbit. Previous observations failed to pick up on the dark, dim body due to the relatively bright glare of Makemake itself.
The 744th episode of Doctor Who (the 46th since the series’ revival) airs on BBC1. Freema Agyeman, Bernard Cribbins and Christopher Ryan (The Young Ones) guest star in the first appearance of the Sontarans in Doctor Who since 1985. This is the first half of a two-part story.
The seventh full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia aboard Soyuz TMA-2, a drastic change from their original mission plan. Originally planned to be another short-term “ferry flight” to swap out the station’s Soyuz lifeboat vehicle, Soyuz became the only way to send full-time crews to the station during the post-Columbia-disaster grounding of the American shuttle fleet. Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu took up residence aboard the ISS for 184 days, returning in October 2003 with Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque. With the shuttle fleet landlocked, two-man ISS crews became the norm, as three-man crews relied on the greater resupply capacity of the shuttles.
Pay cable channel Showtime premieres the eighth episode of J. Michael Straczynski’s post-apocalyptic series Jeremiah.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the 168th episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This episode continues a tightly-serialized eight-episode run-up to the series finale. Louise Fletcher guest stars.
Pay cable channel HBO’s heavily-promoted docudrama miniseries From The Earth To The Moon, continues, executive produced by actor Tom Hanks (Apollo 13) through Ron Howard’s Imagine Films. The series chronicles NASA’s quest to reach the moon, and two episodes debut each Sunday of the show’s run. The fourth night premieres the episodes That’s All There Is (Apollo 12) and We Interrupt This Broadcast (Apollo 13). Dave Foley (The Kids In The Hall) stars as Alan Bean, with Paul McCrane (ER, The Shawshank Redemption) as Pete Conrad. Jay Mohr and Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager) guest star.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the 145th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Norman Lloyd (St. Elsewhere), Linda Thorson (The Avengers) and Maurice Roeves (The Nightmare Man) guest star.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the 13th episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off on a mission lasting nearly ten days, carrying the Spacelab laboratory module in its cargo bay. This flight, Spacelab D-2, includes medical and material experiments, with one experiment controlled by an Apple Macintosh computer carried into orbit. Amateur radio messages are exchanged with the crew of the Mir space station. Aboard Columbia for her 14th flight are Commander Steven Nagel, Pilot Terence Henricks, mission specialists Jerry Ross, Charles Precourt and Bernard Harris Jr., and payload specialists Ulrich Walter and Hans Schlegel.
The sixth episode of Brian Daley’s radio drama adaptation of the science fiction blockbuster Star Wars airs on National Public Radio stations in the U.S. Mark Hamill stars as Luke Skywalker, and Perry King stars as Han Solo.
Casablanca Records releases Lenny & Squiggy present Lenny and the Squigtones, an album combining spoken-word comedy and ’50s rock pastiches performed by Michael McKean and David Lander in their characters best known to the general public from recurring appearances on Laverne & Shirley.
The 245th episode of Doctor Who airs on the BBC. Jane Sherwin, David Savile and Philip Madoc guest star. This is Patrick Troughton’s final story as the incumbent Doctor, the final Doctor Who story of the 1960s, and the final story made in black & white.