Luna 18

Luna 18The Soviet Union launches unmanned space probe Luna 18 toward the moon, intended to repeat Luna 16’s feat of gathering and returning a sample of lunar soil to Earth. After spending nearly a week in orbit, Luna 18 descends to the surface, but ground controllers have directed it toward a hazardous mountain region, and contact is lost at the moment the vehicle signals contact with the ground – very likely a sign of a crash landing. No further communication is received from Luna 18, nor is the sample container ever sent back to Earth.

Luna 19

Luna 19The Soviet Union launches unmanned space probe Luna 19 toward the moon, a return to orbital-only missions. Over the course of a year, Luna 19 conducts an extensive mapping campaign of the lunar surface, as well as measuring gravitational anomalies in lunar orbit.

The voice of the National Weather Service

Weather RadioThe National Weather Service’s NOAA Weather Radio system finally finds its purpose with the introduction of a piercing “warning tone” preceding emergency weather announcements such as severe weather warnings. Manufacturers of weather radio receivers (an item which hit the market in 1970) use the five-second burst of 1050Hz warning tone to trigger attention-grabbing alert sounds and then activate the radio so the relevant information can be heard. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts on 29 stations around the country, and the agency continues to bring new transmitters online throughout the year.

You’ve got mail

InternetsComputer engineer and recent MIT graduate Ray Tomlinson, working on the nascent ARPANET project, adds minor new features to an experimental file transfer protocol and, in so doing, sends the first network e-mail. This first message doesn’t have far to travel – it arrives at another computer terminal in the same room – but it is the beginning of e-mail on ARPANET, a feature which is adopted so widely and so quickly that it accounts for 75% of all ARPANET data traffic just two years later. Tomlinson is also credited for inventing the user@destination e-mail address format.

Salyut 1 down

SalyutWith its first crew having perished, prompting a far-reaching reorganization of the Soviet space program and its technology, the now-unmanned Salyut 1 space station is ordered to fire its thrusters, slowing it down to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. With no immediate prospect of a new crew to inhabit it, the first space station intended for long-term occupation by a human crew barely lasts six months in orbit.

Ace Of Wands: The Eye Of Ra, Part 4

Ace Of WandsITV airs the 26th episode of Ace Of Wands, starring Michael McKenzie, Tony Selby and Judy Loe. Oscar Quitak (Brazil) guest stars in the second season finale, which also marks the departure of cast members Selby and Loe. This episode, like the rest of the series’ first two seasons, is now missing from the archives.

More about Ace Of Wands in the LogBook

Computer Space

25 cents pleaseBoasting a curved, futuristic fiberglass cabinet that truly looks like an alien art object, Nutting Associates’ arcade video game Computer Space hits an amusement market dominated by pinball machines and jukeboxes. Devised by Nolan Bushnell, Computer Space is a coin-operated homage to the mainframe game Spacewar, complete with complicated controls, and fails to sell well. Bushnell later has a revelation: arcade games will need to be easy to learn (but not easy to beat) in order to catch on.

More about Computer Space in Phosphor Dot Fossils

Mariner 9 at Mars

Mariner 9The unmanned NASA/JPL space probe Mariner 9 enters orbit around Mars, becoming the first human spacecraft to orbit another planet in the solar system. The probe begins a nearly year-long survey of the red planet, mapping over 70% of its surface at a much higher resolution than was achieved by the previous NASA Mars probes, Mariners 6 and 7. Mariner 9’s mapping mission is temporarily delayed by a global dust storm obscuring the entire planet when the orbiter arrives. Among its discoveries are Olympus Mons, the solar system’s largest volcano, and the gigantic canyon later named Valles Marineris. Mariner 9 also gathers images of Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

Earth II

Star Trek: Deep Space NineABC premieres the two-hour TV movie Earth II, starring Gary Lockwood (2001: a space odyssey) and Mariette Hartley. The movie is intended to serve as a pilot for a potential series, but despite making a powerful impression on science fiction fans, Earth II doesn’t draw a large enough audience to merit a series pickup.

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Mariner 9 at Phobos

PhobosNASA’s Mariner 9 Mars orbiter becomes the first spacecraft to provide relatively close-up images of Mars’ innermost, larger moon, Phobos, from over 3,500 miles away. The irregular shape and heavily cratered surface of Phobos point up its likely origins as an asteroid that long ago came close enough to Mars to be captured into an orbit. Phobos (and its still unseen-at-close-range smaller sibling, Deimos) will be imaged at much closer range later in the 1970s by the Viking orbiters.

Electric Light Orchestra

ELOElectric Light Orchestra‘s self-titled debut album is released in the UK, though it proves to be the last released collaboration between founders (and former Move members) Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne; Wood leaves the band after an unpromising live debut. The album is released in the US in March 1972, where a phone call to clarify the album’s title results in a misunderstood written note that leads to the American release going out under the unintentional title No Answer.

More about ELO in Music Reviews

The Fujita Scale

Dr. FujitaDr. Tetsuya Theodore Fujita, a pioneering researcher in the formation and development of severe weather, proposes a scale for judging the intensity of tornadoes by the damage left behind. His five-point scale covers minimal tornadoes (F1) through storms capable of inflicting incredible damage (F5), with damage surveyed after a storm to determine the physical effects and the estimated wind speed needed to cause those effects. The Fujita Scale is adopted almost worldwide, remaining in widespread use by severe weather researchers and government agencies until it is supplanted by the more refined Enhanced Fujita Scale in the 1990s.