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NASA loses contact with Mars Climate Orbiter

The Mars Climate Orbiter was a robotic space probe launched by NASA to study the Martian climate, Martian atmosphere, and surface changes and to act as the communications relay for the Mars Polar Lander. Communication with the spacecraft was lost as it went into orbital insertion due to a problem with ground-based computer software. The spacecraft encountered Mars on a trajectory that brought it too close to the planet, causing it to pass through the upper atmosphere and disintegrate.

Ceefax: BBC launches first ever Teletext service

Ceefax was the world's first teletext information service and a forerunner to the current BBC Red Button service. It was started by the BBC in 1974 and ended in October, 2012, after 38 years of broadcasting. The service was intended to transmit a printable page of text during the nocturnal "close-down" period of normal television transmission. Teletext proved to be a reliable text news service, especially during a crisis like the September 2001 attacks.

WD-40 oil is invented

The formula for the oil was created by Norm Larsen from the Rocket Chemical Company. Original purpose of the oil was coating of structural components of nuclear missiles to prevent corrosion (hence the name of the company). WD-40 proved suitable for many other tasks. Today, there are more than two thousand known uses of it.

Neptune is observed

Neptune was observed with a telescope in September 1846 by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier. Its largest moon, Triton, was discovered shortly thereafter, though none of the planet's remaining known 13 moons were located telescopically until the 20th century.

Anniversaries of the (in)famous