This Day In History : January 8

1973 Russian Federation

USSR Launches Luna 21 for Moon Landing

In 1973, the Soviet Union launched the Luna 21 spacecraft, aiming to achieve a soft landing on the Moon's surface. Luna 21 successfully deployed the Lunokhod 2 rover, which explored the lunar surface and conducted scientific experiments. This mission was part of the Soviet Union's Luna program, which aimed to study the Moon and its geological characteristics.

Also on This Day in History January 8

Discover what happened on January 8 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, January 8
  • 1942 Stephen W. Hawking

    English theoretical physicist who is one of the world's leaders in his field.

  • 1902 Carl R. Rogers

    American psychologist who founded humanistic psychology.

  • 1587 Johannes Fabricius

    Dutch astronomer who was perhaps the first to observe sunspots.

  • 1823 Alfred Russel Wallace

    English naturalist and biogeographer who studied the distribution of organisms.

  • 1905 Walter E. Diemer

    American businessman who was working as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Co., when in 1928 he accidentally invented bubble gum while experimenting during his spare time with recipes for a chewing gum base.

Deaths on This Day, January 8
  • 1997 Melvin Calvin

    Melvin Ellis Calvin was an American biochemist who was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for furthering our knowledge of the mechanism of photosynthesis.

  • 1894 Pierre-Joseph van Beneden

    Belgian parasitologist and paleontologist who discovered the life cycle of tapeworms (Cestoda).

  • 1704 Lorenzo Bellini

    Italian physician and anatomist who described the collecting, or excretory, tubules of the kidney, known as Bellini's ducts (tubules).

  • 1980 John William Mauchly

    American engineer and physicist, who with John P. Eckert invented (1946) the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the first general-purpose electronic computer.

  • 2002 Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov

    He was a Russian physicist and researcher on lasers and masers in the former Soviet Union for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964.


Complex Number Calculator operational

In 1940, George Stibitz Complex Number Calculator was functional. He was a research mathematician at Bell Laboratories, who worked on its construction from Apr 1939, assisted by Samuel Williams.

Superfluidity of liquid helium

In 1938, the superfluidity of liquid helium at a temperature near absolute zero was reported in the journal Nature.

The African National Congress (ANC) Founded

In 1912, the African National Congress (ANC) was established in South Africa. Initially formed to advocate for the rights of black South Africans and resist racial discrimination, the ANC later played a pivotal role in the country's struggle against apartheid, eventually becoming South Africa's ruling political party.

African American men gain the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

On January 8, 1867, African American men gain the right to vote in the District of Columbia despite the veto of its most powerful resident, President Andrew Johnson. The Republican-controlled senate overrode Johnson by a vote of 29-10 three years before a constitutional amendment granted the right to vote to all men regardless of race.
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