Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the 24th president of Liberia in 2006. She won the 2005 elections and was re-elected in 2011. She, with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen, received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their nonviolent work to help women. Educated in the United States, Sirleaf is the first elected female head of state of an African country. Her term of office ended January 22, 2018.
New Horizons was launched in 2006 to fly by Pluto and its moons. The unmanned spacecraft flew closest to Pluto on July 14, 2015. The craft then studied Pluto’s five moons: Charon, Nix, Hydra, Styx, and Kerberos. After its work around Pluto was done, it was given a new mission, to study objects in the Kuiper Belt. It conducted a flyby of (486958) 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. After it has passed through the Kuiper Belt, it will study interstellar space. Children could learn a great deal more at: New Horizons.
Stardust was launched by NASA in 1999. Scientists sent it into outer space to collect samples from comets. So how did Stardust collect those samples? It contained plates of aerogel, a type of sticky stuff that attracted and kept the comet materials. It traveled three billion miles before returning to earth January 15, 2006, with samples it took from comet Wild 2. Children can have a great time exploring the Stardust NASA site for kids at: Stardust.
Twitter was launched in 2006. Based in San Francisco, the social networking service has more than 500 million users.
Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet in 2006. The International Astronomical Union had to either change Pluto’s status as a planet or add many more planets, so Pluto was placed in a different category. Children could learn more at: Pluto.
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court Justice when she was sworn in in 1981. She retired January 31, 2006. She founded a website to help students better understand government: https://www.icivics.org/.
United States population exceeded 300 million in 2006. Children can view some fascinating facts about the United States population and the world population at: http://www.census.gov/popclock/.