Far side of the moon was first photographed in 1959. The Soviet Union’s Luna 3, launched October 3, 1959, took 29 pictures. Then, when the spacecraft came closer to earth, it transmitted seventeen of the pictures. The photographs were of lesser quality than later photographs, but they showed that the far side of the moon was very different from the side we can see. The far side is more mountainous. Children could learn more at: Moon.
Antarctic Treaty was signed by twelve nations in 1959. The original twelve countries are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Soviet Union, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States. Today 50 countries recognize the treaty. The continent will be kept as a scientific preserve, and no nation can colonize it. Children can learn about the Antarctic Treaty at: Antarctic Treaty. They can view great pictures of Antarctic animals at: Antarctic Animals.
Alaska became the forty-ninth state of the United States in 1959. Alaska is by far the largest state, but only two states have less population. The state has experienced booms in furs, fishing, whaling, gold, and oil. Juneau is the state capital. Children can visit an Internet site at: Alaska. Idea: Children could research Alaska more and try to predict its next economic focus.
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was released in 1959. Work began in 1951, and it incorporated music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet Sleeping Beauty. Originally it was not a successful movie, but it is now a classic.
Vanguard 2 was launched in 1959. The 21.5 pound satellite became the first weather station in space. While it no longer sends data, it still circles the earth. Scientists gather data about it regarding gravity and atmospheric drag. Children could learn more about it at: Vanguard 2.
Barbie, the doll, celebrates her birthday today. She was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler after Ruth saw a doll with adult characteristics (as opposed to a baby doll) in Germany. She bought three dolls and brought them back to the United States. Changes were made to the doll, and the doll was named Barbie after Handler’s daughter. Around 350,000 thousand dolls were sold in the first year of production. Today over one billion dolls have been sold in 150 countries. Children can visit the Mattel site at: http://www.barbie.com/.
First United States astronauts (Mercury Seven) were appointed in 1959. All seven original astronauts (Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton) were men, and they were all in the military. Children could investigate present astronaut requirements. Who are some of our present astronauts? How have astronaut requirements changed since the beginning of the program? Children could learn more at: Mercury Seven.
Saint Lawrence Seaway began operating in 1959. Construction began in September, 1954. Over 6000 people had to be relocated because a reservoir would cover their land. Canada and the United States each operate a portion of the 450-mile seaway. It connects Lake Erie to Montreal to the Atlantic Ocean. Children could read Gail Gibbons’s The Great St. Lawrence Seaway. Children could also visit: Seaway. They could study the Suez Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway in more detail. How are the two alike? How are they different?
Rocket Mail took place in 1959. The United States Postal Service launched a missile, loaded with commemorative letters, from the USS Barbero, located off the northern coast of Florida. The missile safely parachuted down with its contents in Florida. There was thought that rockets could quickly deliver mail from continent to continent, but rocket costs and numerous setbacks halted the plans.
Explorer VI was launched in 1959 and transmitted the first photographs of earth taken from space. The satellite also transmitted data about different types of energy. The satellite went into decay on July 1, 1961. Older children could learn more at: Explorer VI.