Tales Of Tomorrow: The Golden Ingot

Tales Of TomorrowThe 32nd episode of ABC’s science fiction anthology series, Tales Of Tomorrow, airs on ABC, with each episode’s opening titles proclaiming that the series is produced “in cooperation with the Science-Fiction League of America”, a collective of sci-fi writers including Isaac Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon among its members. This episode stars Gene Lockhart.

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Luna 5: negative, it just impacted on the surface

Luna 5Following two years of aborted or otherwise unsuccessful attempts to launch another robotic lunar lander toward the moon, the Soviet Union sends Luna 5 on its way. Intended to be an automated soft-landing mission, Luna 5 encounters major technical problems as it coasts from Earth to the moon. It does eventually reach the moon, but does so out of control and unable to brake for a survivable landing; the plume of material created by the impact of the 3,000-pound Luna 5 is large enough to be spotted from Earth-based telescopes for several minutes.

The Invaders: The Condemned

The InvadersThe 17th episode of Larry Cohen’s science fiction series The Invaders, starring Roy Thinnes and produced by Quinn Martin’s QM Productions, premieres on ABC. Ralph Bellamy (The Eleventh Hour, The Most Deadly Game) guest stars in an episode that concludes the series’ first season.

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Mariner 8 launched… and lost

Mariner 8NASA and JPL launch Mariner 8, the first of two identical “Mars ’71” orbiters designed to visit Mars. Where previous missions have simply flown past the red planet, Mariners 8 and 9 are intended to put themselves in orbit and remain there to map the majority of the Martian surface. The second stage of the Atlas-Centaur booster used to launch Mariner 8 fails, however, and the robotic Mars explorer crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. Some of its mission objectives are transferred to the identical Mariner 9, due for launch at the end of the month.

Star Trek: TNG: Conspiracy

Star Trek: The Next GenerationThe week-long national syndication window opens for the 24th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is the goriest episode of the series’ entire run; even improved make-up effects in later seasons never quite match up to this story’s exploding head and torso (graphic visuals which any network with creative input or oversight would likely have nixed). Despite ending on an obvious cliffhanger, this story is never revisited by any later episodes or spinoff series.

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HayabusaJapan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), launches the unmanned Hayabusa space probe on a mission to gather material from asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Intended to reach Itokawa in two years, and then return the asteroid samples to Earth in 2010, Hayabusa will also attempt to drop a small rover on Itokawa’s surface and will test an ion engine propulsion system. The name “Hayabusa” – translating to “peregrine falcon” – is only bestowed upon the spacecraft once it reaches space; prior to that, Hayabusa is known by its engineering designation, MUSES-C. A few months after Hayabusa’s launch, ISAS itself is renamed JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency).

The Expanse: Triple Point

The ExpanseThe 28th episode of the science fiction series The Expanse, based on the series of novels by James S.A. Corey (a pseudonym for writers Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham), is broadcast on cable channel Syfy.

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