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February 12th in Astronomy and Space Science
Astronomical Event1947An iron-nickel meteorite explodes over the Sikote-Alin mountains, north of Vladivostok, Russia. The incoming meteor was widely observed and for a brief time was brighter than the Sun. The largest recovered chunk weighs 1745 kg (3839 lbs), but the original mass is estimated at 9000 kg (19,800 lbs).
Unmanned Spaceflight1961The USSR succeeds on the second attempt to launch the Venera probe towards Venus. The radio fails 22.5 million km (14 million miles) from Venus, but radar tracks the probe passing within 100,000 km (62,000 miles) of Venus.
Unmanned Spaceflight2001The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touches down on the asteroid Eros and successfully continues transmitting, marking the first landing on an asteroid.
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