Pathfinder landed on the surface of Mars in 1997. The craft, launched on December 5, 1996, traveled for 211 days and 309 million miles to reach the surface of Mars. A small rover named Sojourner (named after Sojourner Truth) traveled about the surface and analyzed rocks and the surface of the planet. The two vehicles (both significantly outliving scientific estimates) sent back 2.3 billion bits of data before transmissions stopped on September 27, 1997. Children can view some of the images of Mars at: Pathfinder.
Venezuela celebrates Independence Day. Spain gave up control of the country in 1821. Located in northern South America, Venezuela is about twice the size of California. It has a tropical climate, and petroleum provides a major portion of its economy. About 28.5 million people live in the country, and most of the cities are located along the Caribbean coastline. Caracas is the capital. Over eight million people live in Austria. Children could print and color a page about Venezuela at: Venezuela.
Isle of Man celebrates Tynwald Day. The island, located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, is about three times the size of Washington, DC. It is a British crown dependency but not part of the United Kingdom. Not quite 85,000 people live there, and Douglas is the capital. Its economy is based on tourism and small manufacturing.
Cape Verde celebrates Independence Day. Portugal relinquished all claims to the country in 1975. During the exploration period, the islands served as supply stations. During the last century, whaling became an important source of income. The country is actually composed of fifteen islands, and the combined area is about the size of Rhode Island. The climate is temperate, but water is scarce and droughts are common. About a half million people live in this country west of Africa. Praia is the capital.
Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field near Litchfield, England, in 2009. Over 3,500 items (mostly gold and silver) were found buried, and most of the items were made around the 7th century AD. The items are mostly military; no household items or women’s jewelry were found. Children can learn more at: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/.