Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30 in History

In 1961 British astronomer Philibert Jacques Melotte died. Born January 29, 1880, Melotte’s parents emigrated to Great Brittan from Belgium. In 1908 Melotte discovered a moon of Jupiter. Originally designated “Jupiter VII,” it was given the name Pasiphaë in 1975.

Melotte discovered one asteroid, 676 Melitta, in 1909. The asteroid name is in fact the Attic form of the Greek Melissa, the bee. In that same year Melotte was awarded the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In Melotte’s 1915 catalog of deep sky objects he recorded a star cluster in the constellation Coma Berenices which is commonly designated Mel 111. The cluster did not appear in the Messier catalogue or the New General Catalogue because it was not proven to be a true star cluster until 1938.

In 1982 NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia and mission STS-3 landed at White Sands Space Harbor (Northrop Strip) near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Launched March 22 from Launch Pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center, the crew included Commander Jack R. Lousma and Pilot C. Gordon Fullerton. The crew continued the testing of the "Canadarm" Remote Manipulator System (RMS), conducted several on-orbit experiments, and continued the general shakedown of Shuttle Columbia and flight procedures.


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