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January 5th - This Day In History

By Edited Feb 9, 2014 0 0

January 5, 1759

George Washington married Martha Dandrige Custis on January 5, 1759.  George Washington was well to do st the time, but Martha was a widow of a very wealthy man.  She came to the marriage with two children, and the couple were to have not children of their own.  George Washington raised her two as his own, and was sad that he could have none of his own. 

Martha Dandridge Custis

Although Martha Washington did all she could to support her husband, including spending winters at the army camps during the revolutionary wars, she was against him becoming the first president of the United States and did not attend his inauguration.  After she did serve as host during affairs of state, like any First Lady does.

January 5, 1972

On January 5, 1972, President Richard Nixon and NASA Director James Fletcher met and talked about the Space Shuttle program.  After that meeting, the President announced that the United States should proceed with a program, to make space familiar territory.

James Fletcher was the head of NASA from 1971-1977, and as such was responsible for the start of the Space Shuttle program and the Viking Program.  He also was involved in the Skylab and the Voyager Space Probes.  He

President Nixon and James Fletcher Discuss Space Shuttle
 returned as head of NASA from 1986-1988 to help the agency recover from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and while there approved the Hubble Space Telescope program.

The Space Shuttle, as a vehicle to fly to space and return to Earth and make a horizontal landing, was present as a concept in 1954, even before anyone had been to space.  Studies on design were being done throughout the 1960s, even while the Apollo program was trying to figure out how to get a man on the moon.

January 5, 1993

Westley Allan Dodd was convicted killing and molesting three children and sentenced to death.  There was evidence that he had done much more.  He himself was of the opinion that the only way to stop a child molester was to kill him.  After being sentenced, he refused all appeals of either the case or the sentence, saying that if he stayed in prison, he would try to escape, would kill guards to escape, and resume killing and raping of children once he was out.  He asked for, and received his execution by hanging.  He was the first to die by hanging since 1965, and his hanging on January 5, 1993 was the last legal hanging in the United States. 

January 5, 2005

Eris - Dwarf Planet

Eris is discovered by a team at the Palomar Observatory in California, led by Mike Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy, who refers to himself as the man who killed Pluto.  The newly discovered Eris turned out to be 27% bigger than Pluto, and at first was called the tenth planet by the press.  However, with the discovery of Eris and the realization that there may be even more of this type of planetary bodies in the solar system, it was decided to add the new classification of dwarf planets.  There are Pluto was downgraded to dwarf planet, and Eris and three others make up the five known dwarf planets. 



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