UPI Almanac for Friday, May 25, 2018

On May 25, 2008, NASA's Phoenix spacecraft made a smooth landing on Mars, completing a nine-month, 422-million-mile journey, setting down in the planet's frigid polar region where scientists hoped to find water.
By United Press International  |  May 25, 2018 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Friday, May 25, the 145th day of 2018 with 220 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Saturn and Uranus. Evening stars are Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include poet/philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1803; YMCA leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate John Mott in 1865; dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in 1878; aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky in 1889; humorist and publisher Bennett Cerf in 1898; actor Claude Akins in 1926; spy novelist Robert Ludlum in 1927; opera singer Beverly Sills (born Belle Miriam Silverman) in 1929; basketball Hall of Fame member K.C. Jones in 1932 (age 86); Canadian writer W.P. Kinsella in 1935; actor Dixie Carter in 1939; actor Ian McKellen in 1939 (age 79); singer/actor Leslie Uggams in 1943 (age 75); singer Jessi Colter in 1943 (age 75); Frank Oz (born Richard Frank Oznowicz), director/actor/puppeteer, in 1944 (age 74); actor Karen Valentine in 1947 (age 71); actor Connie Sellecca in 1955 (age 63); comedian/actor Mike Myers in 1963 (age 55); actor Anne Heche in 1969 (age 49); actor Octavia Spencer in 1972 (age 46); actor Cillian Murphy in 1976 (age 42); former professional football player Brian Urlacher in 1978 (age 40); wrestler Roman Reigns in 1985 (age 33); gymnast Aly Raisman in 1994 (age 24).

On this date in history:

In 1787, with George Washington presiding, the first regular session of the Constitutional Convention, which drew up the Constitution of the United States, convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

In 1878, H.M.S. Pinafore, an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, opened in London.

In 1925, John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in a Tennessee high school, leading to a trial that became a media sensation. Scopes was convicted and fined $100; the conviction was later overturned.

In 1935, winding up his legendary career (with the Boston Braves in his last season), Babe Ruth hit his 714th home run in his final game. The record stood for 39 years until Hank Aaron, also with the Braves, although in Atlanta, broke it in 1974. Aaron went on to hit 755 homers and current record-holder Barry Bonds had 762.

In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy told a joint session of Congress of the plan to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

In 1977, the first installment of George Lucas' Star Wars film series was released.

In 1986, 5 million people formed a broken 4,000-mile human chain from Los Angeles to New York in "Hands Across America," to benefit the nation's homeless. The event raised $24.5 million.

In 1994, after living 20 years in exile, mostly in the United States, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland. He had been expelled after The Gulag Archipelago, an expose of the Soviet prison camp system, was published in the West in 1974.

In 1997, mutinous soldiers seized power in Sierra Leone.

In 2006, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, former officers of Enron Corp., were convicted in Houston federal court of conspiracy and securities fraud.

In 2008, NASA's Phoenix spacecraft made a smooth landing on Mars, completing a nine-month, 422-million-mile journey, setting down in the planet's frigid polar region where scientists hoped to find water.

In 2009, despite international warnings, North Korea reported it had launched a second nuclear missile test, with officials saying they were only boosting self-defense capabilities.

In 2011, The Oprah Winfrey Show broadcast its final original episode after 25 years on the air.

In 2012, private space company SpaceX's Dragon capsule became the first commercial cargo vessel to visit the International Space Station.

In 2013, amid tight security, about 3,000 people who had been in the Boston Marathon April 15 when bombs killed three people and injured scores of others returned to complete the final mile. One runner said the event, called OneRun, was "a great way to show the strength of Boston and the camaraderie in our city."

In 2017, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg received an honorary degree from Harvard, 12 years after dropping out of the ivy league school. Actors Judi Dench and James Earl Jones, and composer John Williams also were honored.

A thought for the day: "When men reach their 60s and retire, they go to pieces. Women just go right on cooking." -- Gail Sheehy

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