How do We Know the Distance to the Moon? To the Planets?

Today in History, January 10, 1946:

ÔÇťOperation Diana”.

The US Army Signal Corps, using a “bedspring antenna” radar from a World War II era US Navy ship, somewhat modified, bounces a signal off of the moon, which took 2.5 seconds to return to the Earth.

The experiment was the precursor to using Radar to determine the distance to other bodies, such as Saturn, and for learning to communicate with later spacecraft outside of Earth’s atmosphere.

Diana was the Roman Moon Goddess, and this project would take the lead in naming later space projects after Roman Gods.

Fame at Any Cost…

Today in History, July 21: 356 – “Fame at any cost”. The Ephesians had built the Temple of Artemis (Diana in Greek) to honor the goddess. It made it’s home of Epheus (in modern day Turkey) famous, being one of the 7 wonders of the world. It would be destroyed and rebuilt at least 3 times, first by flood, then by arson, and then by war. The second time, it had just been rebuilt when an arsonist set fire to the timbers supporting it’s roof, destroying it again. When captured, the arsonist admitted openly that he had committed the act to secure his name in history. It was ruled that he would be put to death, his name was not to be spoken on pain of death, and his name was removed from all records. He got his wish, however, when the historian Theopompus recorded his name in the next century. Thus we have the term Herostratic Fame…fame at any cost.