Daily Almanac for Saturday, August 20, 2022

On this date in 1975, The unmanned U.S. planetary probe Viking 1 was launched on a journey to Mars. After nearly a year in space, it became the first vehicle to land on that planet. Here is the Viking 1 orbiter lander 1975 photo. By NASA, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


Viking 1 was the first of two spacecraft, along with Viking 2, each consisting of an orbiter and a lander, sent to Mars as part of NASA‘s Viking program. The lander touched down on Mars on July 20, 1976, the first successful Mars lander in history. Viking 1 operated on Mars for 2307 days (over 614 years) or 2245 Martian solar days, the longest Mars surface mission until the record was broken by the Opportunity rover on May 19, 2010.


Following launch using a Titan/Centaur launch vehicle on August 20, 1975, and an 11-month cruise to Mars, the orbiter began returning global images of Mars about five days before orbit insertion. The Viking 1 Orbiter was inserted into Mars orbit on June 19, 1976, and trimmed to a 1,513 x 33,000 km, 24.66 h site certification orbit on June 21. Landing on Mars was planned for July 4, 1976, the United States Bicentennial, but imaging of the primary landing site showed it was too rough for a safe landing. The landing was delayed until a safer site was found, and took place instead on July 20, the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The lander separated from the orbiter at 08:51 UTC and landed at Chryse Planitia at 11:53:06 UTC. It was the first attempt by the United States at landing on Mars.


Question of the Day

Why are these hot, humid days of August called Dog Days?

These days are named for the Dog Star, Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major. This star starts shining brightly at this time of year. It rises in the east at about the same time as the Sun. The ancient Egyptians thought that the star was responsible for the heat and blamed it for any droughts, sickness, and discomfort that occurred. The Dog Days traditionally start on July 3 and end on August 11, which may or may not be when the hot, humid weather ends.

Advice of the Day

Try drinking nettle tea to relieve hay fever.

Home Hint of the Day

Squirt lemon juice on windowsills and the bottoms of doors to keep ants from coming into the house.

Word of the Day


An instrument used to measure air pressure; there are two basic types, aneroid and mercury.

Puzzle of the Day

The Sunflower State.(Name the U.S. state!)



  • Benjamin Harrison (23rd U.S. president) – 1833
  • Edgar Guest (poet) – 1881
  • Don King (boxing promoter) – 1931
  • Isaac Hayes (singer) – 1942
  • Connie Chung (journalist) – 1946
  • Robert Plant (singer) – 1948
  • Al Roker (co-anchor and TV weatherman) – 1954
  • Joan Allen (actress) – 1956
  • Billy Gardell (actor) – 1969
  • Amy Adams (actress) – 1975


  • Pope Pius X (religious leader) – 1914
  • Sir Fred Hoyle (astronomer) – 2001
  • Somporn Saekow (founder of first Thailand monkey-training school) – 2002
  • Joe Rosenthal (photojournalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for the image of World War II servicemen raising an American flag over Iwo Jima. The photo became the model for the Marine Corps War Memorial) – 2006
  • Leona Helmsley (hotel magnate) – 2007
  • Phyllis Diller (comedienne & actress) – 2012
  • Elmore Leonard (author) – 2013
  • Jerry Lewis (comedian) – 2017


  • The 1812 Overture debuted in Moscow– 1882
  • Strowger firm applied for a patent for the first telephone rotary dial– 1896
  • The Plant Quarantine Act came into effect, placing restrictions on the entry of plants into the U.S.– 1912
  • German forces occupied Brussels– 1914
  • Project Manhigh II completed– 1957
  • 563-lb. 8-oz. giant sea bass caught near Anacapa Island, California– 1968
  • The unmanned U.S. planetary probe Viking 1 was launched on a journey to Mars. After nearly a year in space, it became the first vehicle to land on that planet– 1975
  • Jellyfish invaded the beaches of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island– 1978
  • Parade of 83 tow trucks set a world record in Wenatchee, Washington– 2004
  • Talk show host Regis Philbin achieved the Guinness World Record for most hours on camera– 2004


  • Salt crystals fell from the sky over Switzerland– 1870
  • The town of Indianola, Texas, was completely destroyed by a hurricane and fire– 1886
  • Deadly tornado hit Sudbury, Ontario– 1970

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