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.
Ecuador celebrates Independence Day. It declared its autonomy from Spain in 1809. Located on the western coast of South America, the country is slightly smaller than the state of Nevada. The geography includes a coastal plain, a portion of the Andes Mountains, and an interior plain. Petroleum reserves help support the economy. Over fifteen million people live in Ecuador, and Quito is the capital. Ecuador owns the Galapagos Islands.
Missouri became the twenty-fourth state of the United States in 1821. Its name comes from the Iliniwek word missouri, meaning owner of big canoes. The state’s nickname is the “Show-Me State,” and Jefferson City is the capital. It ranks nineteenth in area and sixteenth in population. St. Louis, a large Missouri city, was once the Gateway to the West. The Gateway Arch, a reminder of that role, was built in 1964 and stands 630 feet high. The Pony Express ran from Missouri to California. Children could visit an Internet site at: Missouri. They could find out why Missouri is called the “Show-Me State.”
“E Pluribus Unum” became the United States motto in 1776. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson brought the phrase to the decision-makers. The English translation is “Out of Many One.” In 1956 the motto was officially replaced by “In God We Trust.”
Musée du Louvre opened in 1793 in Paris, France. At the opening it displayed 537 paintings. Today the museum houses over 35,000 works of art, and more than eight million people visit the museum yearly. The Louvre houses Mona Lisa. Children can visit its fascinating website at: http://www.louvre.fr/en/history-louvre.
Smithsonian Institute was created by Congressional law in 1846. The money was given to the United States by James Smithson in 1836, but the government needed ten years to decide how best to use the donation. Today the Smithsonian has 19 museums and galleries, and 30 million people visit various parts of the Smithsonian yearly. Children could chart all the various parts of the Smithsonian. They could visit the kid portion of the Smithsonian website at: http://www.si.edu/Kids.
Record low temperature was recorded in 2010 at Vostok Station in Antarctica. The temperature reached a low of -136 degrees F. That temperature is colder than dry ice! This record broke the July 21, 1983, temperature of -128.6 degrees F.
Lettuce grown on International Space Station was consumed by astronauts in 2015. This event marked the first time space travelers grew and ate their own food. American astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren grew the “Outredgous” red romaine lettuce aeroponically. Half the harvest was eaten by the astronauts, and half was frozen and returned to earth for analysis. The vegetable is very significant because astronauts on future, lengthy space trips will need to grow their own food.