In the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2), a KSC technician looks over the Mars Polar Lander before its encapsulation inside the backshell, a protective cover. The solar-powered spacecraft, targeted for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station aboard a Delta II rocket on Jan. 3, 1999, is designed to touch down on the Martian surface near the northern-most boundary of the south pole in order to study the water cycle there. The lander also will help scientists learn more about climate change and current resources on Mars, studying such things as frost, dust, water vapor and condensates in the Martian atmosphere.(NASA, Image ID: KSC-98PC-1610 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Following are some of the major events to have occurred on Jan 3


1924 – The British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor.

1946 – William Joyce, who broadcast Nazi propaganda to Britain during World War Two as “Lord Haw Haw”, was hanged for treason in London.

1959 – Alaska becomes 49th state in U.S.

1961 – One millionth Morris Minor.

1967 – Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald before he could be tried for the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy, died in hospital.

1977 – Apple Computer is incorporated.

1979 – Hotelier Conrad Hilton dies.

1990 – General Manuel Antonio Noriega, deposed leader of Panama, surrendered to invading U.S. troops after spending 10 days under siege in the Vatican embassy.

1999 – Australian cricket captain celebrates equalling world record with 156th catch.

1999 – NASA launches Mars Polar Lander.

2016 – Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran.