Voyager 1 photographs its first planet

EarthBarely two weeks after launch, Voyager 1 captures the first-ever photo of the Earth and its moon in their entirety, from a distance of just over seven million miles. Due to the moon’s relatively low visibility, JPL has to “brighten” the moon so it’s visible in the photo. Voyager 1 soon loses sight of Earth and the moon as it speeds toward Jupiter, a planet it won’t reach until 1979.

There’s still no word on whether or not Voyager 1 found signs of intelligent life on Earth.

Enterprise Approach & Landing Test 3

EnterpriseFor the third time, Space Shuttle Enterprise separates from the back of a Boeing 747 flying at nearly 25,000 feet above the dry lake bed landing strips at Edwards Air Force Base in California. With astronauts Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerton aboard, Enterprise safely glides to her third safe landing at Edwards. This is the last of the test landings to leave the aerodynamic tail cone over Enterprise’s “anatomically correct” (but nonfunctional) main engines; the remaining Approach & Landing test flights will test the aerodynamics of an orbiter as it would return from space with those engines exposed.

Viking 2 and the frost of Mars

MarsNASA’s Viking 2 lander confirms a surprising finding first detected in black-and-white images just days earlier: Mars has naturally occurring frost. Scientists try to determine, from images alone, if the frost forms from condensation due to overnight cold (as on Earth), or through some other atmospheric mechanism. But the finding does confirm enough moisture in the atmosphere to condense on the Martian surface, decades before surface water is confirmed on the red planet.

Salyut 6

Salyut 6The Soviet Union launches the redesigned Salyut 6 space station, which will remain in service for five years. With six years of experience in building and operating space stations, Soviet space engineers embark on a rethink of station construction, opting for a more modular approach with Salyut 6: the new station has docking ports fore and aft, with additional station modules and automated resupply vehicles already on the drawing board. The dual docking ports also allow for multiple Soyuz capsules to be berthed at Salyut 6, making larger crews possible.

Star Wars tops the charts

Star Wars and Other Galactic FunkProduced in the wake of Star Wars mania, Meco Menardo’s disco cover of John Williams’ music from Star Wars tops the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks. A shortened, radio-friendly single is the song certified as #1, although the album version (titled Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk) is an extended suite lasting over 15 minutes and covering most of the movie’s major music themes. Meco would continue to ride the Star Wars train, disco-style, for years to come.

More about Star Wars soundtracks in’s Music Reviews

Doctor Who: The Invisible Enemy, Part 2

Doctor WhoThe 459th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1. This episode introduces a character who becomes a major new addition to the show’s mythology, the robot dog K-9. With actor John Leeson lending his voice to the radio-control prop, it might seem as though Doctor Who is trying to steal some of Star Wars‘ droid mojo, but in fact the episode was filmed months before Star Wars premiered.

More about Doctor Who in the LogBook
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Soyuz 25

Soyuz 25The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 25 into Earth orbit, with cosmonauts Vladimir Kovalyonok and Valery Ryumin set to become the first occupants of the new Salyut 6 space station. However, the crew is unable to successfully dock Soyuz 25 to Salyut 6, and after a fifth attempt to dock, the mission is aborted and the cosmonauts are recalled to Earth due to concerns about the remaining fuel in their vehicle. As a result, Soyuz 25 is the last all-rookie Soviet space crew until the 1990s.