President Roosevelt sends first worldwide message via cable
On July 4, 1903, FDR sent the first message to ever travel around the globe via the Pacific Cable, wishing "a happy Independence Day to the US, its territories and properties..." It took 9 minutes to reach the entire world.
Mars Pathfinder lands a rover on Mars
On Independence Day in 1997, the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars, bringing with it a base station and the Sojourner rover. Lasting almost three months, Pathfinder transmitted 16,500 pictures and 8.5 million measurements from the surface of Mars.
Vermont hits record high
Back in 1911, the 4th of July saw a new record high in Vernon, Vermont. The temperature hit 105 degrees!
Maryland sees record rainfall
A downpour on July 4, 1956, caused Unionville, Maryland, to gain a record it keeps today: most rainfall in one minute.
Explorer 38 (aka RAE 1) is launched
Following its Independence Day launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Explorer 38 went on to measure celestial radio sources. According to NASA, "the RAE-1 spacecraft measured the intensity of celestial radio sources, particularly the sun, as a function of time, direction, and frequency (0.2 to 20 MHz)."
Hotmail email goes live
Now branded as Outlook, the free email service Hotmail (first stylized as HoTMaiL, as in HTML) launched on July 4, 1996.
NASA collides spacecraft with comet, for science
On July 3, 2005, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft released an impactor, a self-propelled craft that moves to collide with the comet. The impactor took photos near the comet's surface right before impact with the surface on July 4th. From this experiment, scientists discovered ice, dust, and carbon-containing materials on the surface of Tempel 1, the comet in question.
Krista's a freelance proofreader and writer who spends most days eyeballing medical texts, others crafting stories for teen games. Sometimes she even makes a few bucks with photography. One thing's always true--she's got a hot geek streak for historical and scientific discovery.