The Viking 1 unmanned space probe, built by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lifts off en route to the planet Mars. Intended to gather and study soil samples on-site on the Martian surface, Viking 1 will take eleven months to reach the red planet. Viking 1 is not the first attempt to land a spacecraft on Mars; the Soviet Union has been attempting such a feat since the 1960s.
NASA launches Voyager 2 (weeks ahead of Voyager 1), giving the unmanned space probe the best shot of taking advantage of a favorable planetary alignment known as the “Grand Tour”. Using a series of carefully calculated gravity assists, Voyager has the potential to visit all four of the major outer gas planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – in under 15 years without having to expend fuel to make the trip. If Voyager 2 survives long enough to visit Uranus or Neptune, it will become the first man-made spacecraft to visit either planet.
Activision releases the Pitfall! cartridge for the Atari VCS home video game system. Subtitled “The Adventure of Pitfall Harry” (implying that further adventures are yet to come), this becomes one of the Atari VCS’ “killer app” games, and is ported to other systems and updated for more modern platforms for decades to come.
Streaming service CBS All Access premieres the third episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, created by Mike McMahan (Rick & Morty) and starring Tawny Newsome (Space Force), Jack Quaid (The Boys), Noel Wells (Craig Of The Creek), Eugene Cordero (Other Space), Dawnn Lewis (A Different World, Futurama), and Jerry O’Connell (Sliders). Neil Casey (Other Space, Avenue 5) guest stars.