Travel back in time

Geeky History

1960

Twilight Zone: The Chaser

The Twilight ZoneThe 31st episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. George Grizzard and John McIntire star.

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Fire the laser!

Ted MaimanAt the Hughes Research Laboratory in California, physicist Ted Maiman conducts the first completely successful laser demonstration, resulting in a brief pulse fired through a ruby. Though the concept of lasers had been published in the 1950s, Maiman is the first to develop a fully working test article. Within a few years, similar ruby lasers are used for numerous military applications, as well as early holography. Maiman’s test laser, when demonstrated again at a conference in 2010, is still operational.

Twilight Zone: A Passage For Trumpet

The Twilight ZoneThe 32nd episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Jack Klugman and John Anderson star in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: Mr. Bevis

The Twilight ZoneThe 33rd episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Orson Bean stars in an episode adapted from an unsold Rod Serling series pilot.

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Twilight Zone: The After Hours

The Twilight ZoneThe 34th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Anne Francis stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: The Mighty Casey

The Twilight ZoneThe 35th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Jack Warden (Being There) stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Building Arecibo

AreciboProposed and designed by Cornell University, and funded by the Adavanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the Arecibo Ionospheric Research Center – a thousand-foot radar and radio telescope dish – begins construction in a natural limestone bowl south of Barrio Esparanza, Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Construction will take over three years, at a cost of nearly $10,000,000, with a steel feed receiver structure supported in mid-air over the parabolic dish by some five miles of steel cables. Facilities are constructed for scientists visiting the eventual facility, and additional facilities are constructed to shape aluminum into the mesh structure of the telescope dish on-site, a more economical approach than having those parts of the telescope shipped in from outside. Though conceived and pitched as a means of studying the ionosphere, with possible defense applications such as missile detection, the Arecibo facility will makes its best known contributions to astronomy after it opens.

Twilight Zone: A World Of His Own

The Twilight ZoneThe 36th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Keenan Wynn stars in an episode written by Richard Matheson, closing the series’ first season.

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Surveyor

SurveyorNASA begins soliciting studies from contractors for an unmanned robotic spacecraft to land on the moon. Intended to carry scientific instruments and television cameras to examine the moon from ground-level, the Surveyor landers are intended to reap their own benefit in the form of scientific data, but they will also serve as advanced scouting support missions for possible later manned landings on the moon.

Echo 1

ECHO!!!The experimental communications relay satellite Echo 1 is launched into orbit by NASA. A 100-foot metalized Mylar balloon, Echo 1 is a demonstration of passive signal relay, carrying no powered transmitters of its own; its reflective surface simply bounces signals back to Earth. Microwave signals, radio, telephone and TV signals are all successfully relayed via Echo 1; it remains in orbit for four months.

Twilight Zone: King Nine Will Not Return

The Twilight ZoneThe 37th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Bob Cummings and Gene Lyons star in the second season premiere, written by Serling, who appears on-camera as the show’s narrator for the first time.

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Courier 1B

Courier 1BThe U.S. Air Force launches the first active-relay communications satellite into orbit, Courier 1B (the original Courier 1 having been lost to a faulty launch vehicle earlier). Unlike the reflective Echo 1 satellite, Courier 1B uses power from the solar cells covering its spherical casing to reboost and retransmit the signals it receives from Earth. Once again, a message from President Eisenhower is transmitted, this time to be received by the United Nations. Clourier 1B remains functional for just over two weeks before a glitch renders it useless.

Twilight Zone: The Man In The Bottle

The Twilight ZoneThe 38th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Joseph Ruskin and Olan Soule star in an episode written by Serling.

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To Mars!

Venera 2The Soviet Union attempts the first-ever launch of an interplanetary space probe bound for the planet Mars. A failure of its rocket booster prevents it from reaching enough thrust to leave Earth orbit; it eventually falls back to Earth and breaks up while reentering the atmosphere. As with many early Soviet space missions, it is not given any meaningful designation due to the failure of the mission.

Twilight Zone: Nervous Man In A Four Dollar Room

The Twilight ZoneThe 39th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Joe Mantell star in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: A Thing About Machines

The Twilight ZoneThe 40th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Richard Haydn stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: The Howling Man

The Twilight ZoneThe 41st episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. John Carradine stars in an episode written by Charles Beaumont.

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Twilight Zone: Eye Of The Beholder

The Twilight ZoneThe 42nd episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Maxine Stuart stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: Nick Of Time

The Twilight ZoneThe 43rd episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. William Shatner (Star Trek) stars in an episode written by Richard Matheson.

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TIROS-2

TIROSNASA and the United States Weather Bureau launch the second experimental TIROS weather satellite, TIROS-2. Though almost identical to its short-lived predecessor, TIROS-2 is outfitted with a new stabilization system which uses detection of Earth’s magnetic field to properly orient the satellite. TIROS-2 functions successfully for just over one year.

Twilight Zone: The Lateness Of The Hour

The Twilight ZoneThe 44th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. John Hoyt (Star Trek) stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: The Trouble With Templeton

The Twilight ZoneThe 45th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Pippa Scott and Sydney Pollack star in an episode written by E. Jack Neuman.

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Twilight Zone: A Most Unusual Camera

The Twilight ZoneThe 46th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Fred Clark stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: The Night Of The Meek

The Twilight ZoneThe 47th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Art Carney and John Fiedler star in an episode written by Serling.

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1961

Twilight Zone: Dust

The Twilight ZoneThe 48th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Thomas Gomez stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: Back There

The Twilight ZoneThe 49th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Russell Johnson (Gilligan’s Island) stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: The Whole Truth

The Twilight ZoneThe 50th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Jack Carson stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: The Invaders

The Twilight ZoneThe 51st episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Agnes Moorehead stars in an episode written by Richard Matheson.

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Mercury 2: canned Ham

HamThe first living creature to reach space aboard an American rocket is Ham, a chimpanzee wired with electrodes and sensors to determine the effects of space travel on a higher primate whose body might react similarly to that of a human being. NASA sends Ham on the sixteen-minute suborbital Mercury 2 flight, ending in a splashdown in the Atlantic. Both Ham and his vehicle survive the flight despite numerous equipment glitches in both the Redstone rocket and the Mercury capsule itself (which actually blasts away from the Redstone via its launch abort system), which loses cabin pressure (fortunately, Ham has his own spacesuit to protect him) and then puts its primate pilot through a punishing 17G reentry. For his pioneering feat of spaceflight, Ham receives an apple, an orange, and paid retirement to the National Zoo.

Twilight Zone: A Penny For Your Thoughts

The Twilight ZoneThe 52nd episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Dick York (Bewitched) stars in an episode written by George Clayton Johnson (Logan’s Run).

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Twilight Zone: Twenty Two

The Twilight ZoneThe 53rd episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Jonathan Harris (Lost In Space, Space Academy) stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Venera 1

Venera 1The Soviet Union launches Venera 1, the first interplanetary space probe. Bound for Venus, Venera 1 returns measurements and observations taken during its three-month flight, but loses contact with ground controllers just as it makes its closest approach to Venus at a distance of 62,000 miles from the planet. It falls into an orbit around the sun after falling silent.

Twilight Zone: The Odyssey Of Flight 33

The Twilight ZoneThe 54th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. John Anderson stars in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: Mr. Dingle, The Strong

The Twilight ZoneThe 55th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Burgess Meredith and Don Rickles star in an episode written by Serling.

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Twilight Zone: Static

The Twilight ZoneThe 56th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Dean Jagger stars.

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Sagan: let’s terraform Venus

Carl SaganIn the journal Science, Carl Sagan proposes an audacious scheme to alter the chemistry of the atmosphere of Venus, making it habitable for humans. His plan involves depositing algae colonies into the planet’s clouds to begin converting the planet’s carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen, and the idea is years ahead of its time (and will later prove to be impractical when more direct studies are made of the Venusian atmosphere).

Twilight Zone: The Prime Mover

The Twilight ZoneThe 57th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Dane Clark and Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies) star.

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Twilight Zone: Long Distance Call

The Twilight ZoneThe 58th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Philip Abbott and Bill Mumy (Lost In Space, Babylon 5) star.

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Twilight Zone: A Hundred Yards Over The Rim

The Twilight ZoneThe 59th episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone airs on CBS. Cliff Robertson and John Crawford star in an episode written by Serling.

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Vostok 1: the first human in space

Vostok 1The Soviet Union scores another technological victory, launching cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1 into a single orbit of Earth lasting a little over 100 minutes. After that orbit, Gagarin’s Vostok return capsule carries him safely through the atmosphere; he then triggers an ejection seat which punches him out of the capsule, at which point he parachutes to the ground.