On this day 22 years ago, the Mars Global Surveyor reached its destination—a stable orbit around the red planet. NASA’s robotic spacecraft traveled nearly 466 million miles in 300 days (750 Million km) on a quest to map and examine the entire planet, from the ionosphere down through the atmosphere to photographing the surface—including images that appeared to prove the presence of water.

Powered by solar panels, it made 88 orbits, and continued its expedition for ten years, even taking pictures of two other NASA spacecrafts that had arrived. After its launch in 1996, the mission was extended twice, outlasting expectations, before the robot in 2006 finally quit transmitting a signal. (1997)

The MGS remains in a stable near-polar circular orbit at about 450 km altitude, and will crash onto the surface of the planet in about 2047. (NASA image: An artist concept of the Mars Global Surveyor)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Mahatma Gandhi coined the term ‘Satyagraha’ (Truth-Force) to characterize Non-Violent movements (1906)
  • The Boston Red Sox won the World Series; wouldn’t repeat for 86 years (1918)
  • The World Wildlife Fund was formed (1961)
  • The Beatles recorded their first single, “Love Me Do” at EMI studios in London (1962)
  • At Camp David, President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Begin agreed on a framework for peace in the Middle East (1978)
  • Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds recorded his 4192nd hit, breaking Ty Cobb’s career record (1985)
  • Scots voted to create their own Parliament after 290 year union with England (1997)
  • Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, lowering the flag to end 38 years of military rule following the removal of its settlers and dismantling of its military bases (2005)

And on this day in 1940, Brian De Palma, the film director and screenwriter of such films as The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible, was born in New Jersey.

2009 Photo of by gdcgraphics, CC license

The computer enthusiast enrolled at Columbia as a physics student, but became enraptured with the filmmaking process after viewing Citizen Kane, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, to whom he has often been compared.

Also on this day, in 2001, while waiting for a train to commute to work as a comic book illustrator in New York City, Gerard Way witnessed the World Trade Center collapse after the 9/11 attack.

2014 photo by rufus, CC license

The experience prompted him to start a new band, My Chemical Romance, for which he became the lead singer. He realized, “I need to do something that means something or my life will mean nothing… You don’t have to save the world, but make some kind of difference or say something that has some kind of value to it.” In March 2013, at the height of their success, the band broke up and Way became a solo artist for Warner Bros. Records.

And on this day in 1967, the Carol Burnett Show premiered on CBS. The influential variety show ran for 11 seasons and featured the unforgettable ensemble of Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway.

The show won 25 Emmy Awards and was ranked number 16 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. WATCH a few classic scenes below, fromThe Carol Burnett Show.


And, on this day in 1945, the Dutch Physician Willem J Kolff performed the first successful kidney dialysis using his artificial hemodialysis machine. After becoming a doctor in the Netherlands, one of his first patients was a 22-year-old man who was slowly dying of renal failure. This prompted Kolff to perform research on an artificial dialyzer. His first prototype, built from orange juice cans, used auto parts, and sausage casings, lead to the successful treatment two years later that has saved the lives of millions ever since. (During his residency as a youth in 1940, Kolff also organized the first blood bank in Europe.)

Photo by KNAW, CC license

Also, on this day in 1893, the World’s Parliament of Religions conference opened—the very first organized interfaith gathering. 7000 people met in Chicago from at least 11 religions at the inaugural event that brought together both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Organized by the Swedenborgian layman and judge Charles Carroll Bonney, the vision of the Parliament was for a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Their idealistic values adopted included…

  1. Religious and spiritual communities live in harmony and contribute to a better world from their riches of wisdom and compassion.
  2. Religious and cultural fears and hatreds are replaced with understanding and respect.
  3. People everywhere come to know and care for their neighbors.
  4. The richness of human and religious diversity is woven into the fabric of communal, civil, societal and global life.
  5. The world’s most powerful and influential institutions move beyond narrow self-interest to realize common good.
  6. The Earth and all life are cherished, protected, healed and restored.
  7. All people commit to living out their highest values and aspirations.