STS-81

Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Atlantis lifts off on the 81st shuttle flight, a ten-day mission featuring the fifth docking between Atlantis and the Mir space station. Atlantis again carries the SPACEHAB module in its cargo bay, and thousands of pounds of consumables and equipment are transferred from the shuttle to Mir. Aboard Atlantis for her 17th flight are Commander Michael Baker, Pilot Brent Jett, and mission specialists John Grunsfeld, Marsha Ivins, Peter Wisoff and Jerry Linenger. Linenger remains on Mir, while American Mir Expedition 22 crewmember John Blaha returns after 128 days in space.

Hubble spots “space tornadoes”

Hubble Space TelescopeNASA’s Hubble Space Telescope does some interstellar storm spotting, capturing an image of funnel-cloud-shaped structures in the Lagoon Nebula, 5,000 light years away from Earth. Similar to the star-forming structures in the Eagle Nebula, the Lagoon Nebula’s star-birthing clouds are seen to be twisting into tornado-like shapes, possibly due to interactions of gases with extreme hot and cold temperatures, not unlike the weather processes leading to tornado formation on Earth.

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator

Stick of joyProgrammer Nicola Salmoria releases the earliest version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, or MAME, a freeware PC program which allows users to obtain dumps of the original 1970s and 1980s arcade game ROM chips which MAME interprets, emulating the original hardware architecture to allow play of those games with remarkable fidelity to the original graphics and sounds. This kick-starts a golden age of computer emulation of classic video games and game systems, with the average desktop computer now sporting enough memory to allow for accurate emulation. The release of MAME also ignites an ongoing controversy about the legality of downloading games whose original manufacturers are no longer exploting their intellectual property (or, in some cases, no longer exist as corporate entities).

More about arcade games in Phosphor Dot Fossils

Soyuz TM-25

Soyuz TM-25Russian cosmonauts Vasili Tsibliyev and Aleksandr Lazutkin lift off aboard Soyuz TM-25 for an eventful mission aboard Russian space station Mir. Tagging along is German space traveler Reinhold Ewald, who will remain in space for 19 days before returning to Earth with Mir’s previous crew aboard Soyuz TM-24; Tsibliyev and Lazutkin will later be joined by American shuttle astronaut Jerry Linenger. Their 184-day stay is marred by numerous emergencies aboard the station, ranging from a fire in the station’s cramped quarters to a collision with an unmanned Progress cargo spacecraft, which Russian ground controllers are initially eager to keep quiet from the rest of the world.