Near Miss Day happened in 1989. The Apollo asteroid 4581 Asclepius, the size of a mountain, came within 500,000 miles of earth. If the meteor had hit the earth, the impact would have left a crater the size of Washington, DC.
Exxon Valdez in 1989 spilled about 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska. The oil covered animals, plants, and the coastline. Children can read the National Geographic January 1990 article about the disaster at: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
Atlantis, an American shuttle spacecraft, was launched in 1989. It successfully deployed Magellan, which traveled to Venus to map the planet’s surface. Magellan encountered Venus on August 10, 1990 and began taking pictures. It continued to photograph the planet’s surface until October 13, 1994.
Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred in Beijing, China, in 1989. Several thousand people were killed when Chinese troops opened fire on demonstrators. The protesters were demanding more freedom from the Chinese government. In the weeks following the massacre, thousands of demonstrators were imprisoned.
Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn in 1981 and Neptune in 1989. Launched August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 investigated Saturn’s atmosphere. It also researched Neptune’s atmosphere and checked out one of Neptune’s moons, Triton. The spacecraft continues to travel and send back data. Children can keep up to date with that data at: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/
Berlin Wall was opened in 1989. The almost 28-mile long wall was built in 1961 to separate East Berlin from West Berlin. People celebrated when they could freely walk from one part of the city to another.