2001 Mars Odyssey was launched on this date and reached Mars on October 24, 2001. The robotic satellite began to send back data on February 19, 2002. Now 2001 Mars Odyssey is the oldest operating spacecraft beyond earth. Children can learn more at: 2001 Mars Odyssey.
Genesis was launched in 2001. The space vehicle traveled to the sun and gathered particles of the sun on its way. A capsule then turned around and returned to earth. It crash landed (the drogue parachute failed to deploy) in Utah on September 8, 2004. Some of the samples were contaminated by earth soil on impact, but many collectors were intact. Scientists used the data to learn more about the sun’s composition and history. Children could learn more by clicking Genesis spacecraft.
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech in 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Children can read the original text at: Dream Speech.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was dedicated in 2001 in Washington, DC. Situated between the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, the very impressive Stone of Hope statue by Lei Yixin stands 28 feet 6 inches tall. Children could learn more at: MLK Memorial.
Patriot Day and National Day of Prayer and Remembrance is today. The United States was attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists on this day in 2001. The terrorists commandeered four passenger planes. They crashed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and one plane into the Pentagon. The fourth airplane, destined for Washington, DC, crashed into western Pennsylvania. It appears the passengers tried to regain control of the aircraft. More than 3,000 people died in the attacks. The country responded by attacking possible Al Qaeda cells and other terrorist groups. Security within the country became more stringent. An excellent source of information for children is Dennis Brindell Fradin’s September 11, 2001, published by Marshall Cavendish.
Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened in 2001 after 11 years of repair, costing 27 million dollars. Construction was started on the bell tower in 1173, and the structure began tilting north soon after. The foundation rested on soft soil. Builders tried to compensate, but the tower began to lean in a southern direction. Several other rescues were made, but the building continued to tilt. By 1990 officials feared the building would topple, and they closed the structure to the public. The latest round of repairs seems to have worked. Slowly the workers removed soil from beneath the foundation while applying weights on the other side. Children could read Building History – The Tower of Pisa by James Barter.
Wikipedia was started by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. It is supported by a non-profit group, Wikimedia. Today the online encyclopedia has 18 billion articles in 287 languages. Over 70,000 volunteers work to make the articles accurate and current. Children can check out Wikijunior at: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikijunior.
NEAR-Shoemaker in 2001 became the first spacecraft to land on a meteor. Launched in 1996, NEAR-Shoemaker landed on near-earth asteroid Eros and sent back data until February 28, 2001. The extreme cold on the asteroid probably prevented the return of more data. Older children can learn more at: http://science.nasa.gov/missions/near/.