Huygens probe, supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA) and named
after the Dutch 17th century astronomer Christiaan Huygens, was an atmospheric
entry probe carried to Saturn's moon Titan as part of the Cassini-Huygens
mission. The combined Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched from Earth
separated from the Cassini orbiter on 25th December 2004 and landed
on Titan on 14th January 2005, near the Xanadu region. It touched down
on land, although the possibility that it would touch down in an ocean
was also taken into account during its design. The probe
continued to send data for about 90 minutes after reaching the surface.
video-sharing website, YouTube.com, was launched in February 2005. It grew
rapidly, reaching 100 million views per day within a year of being launched.
By 2007, the site consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet
in 2000 – and in March 2008, its bandwidth costs were estimated at $1 million a day. By 2009, the site had reached over a billion views
daily and become the 4th most popular site after Google, Yahoo! and
social impact was considerable. Before its launch in 2005, there were
few easy methods available for computer users wanting to post videos
online. With its simple interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone
with a connection to post a video that a worldwide audience
could watch within minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube
turned video sharing into one of the most important aspects of Internet
popularised many trends outside the Internet, created Internet
celebrities, and promoted democracy and debate around the globe. It
even played a role in the 2008 US presidential election. However,
the site proved controversial in some nations, with governments blocking
access. It also received criticism for failing to ensure copyright protection.
Deep Impact collides its impactor device with comet 9P/Tempel
Impact was a NASA-operated spacecraft designed to study the interior
composition of comets. It was comprised of two sections. The larger was
a flyby component with imaging devices, an infrared
spectrometer, and cameras with both high and medium resolution. The impactor was
the second piece, weighing in at around 370 kg (771 lb) and containing
only a targeting sensor, the rest being mostly copper alloy.
was to launch the impactor from the flyby module and position it to
collide with comet 9P/Tempel. The flyby module would then study
the composition of the ejected material, as well as the internal structure
of the comet, visible through the resultant crater. This plan proved
successful, with the impactor hitting the comet with a force equivalent to 4.7
tons of TNT.
regarding these celestial bodies were answered as a result of the mission.
The entire project from launch to collision gained considerable media
attention which, thanks to its wealth of useful data,
led NASA to consider Deep Impact one of its greatest modern
successes. The flyby module was later put on an extended mission to
study other comets of the inner Solar System.
flash drives replace floppy disks
the middle of this decade, flash drives featuring the Universal Serial
Bus (USB) interface had superseded the previously standard floppy disks.
The latter had been in use since the mid-1970s, but now, along with
CD-ROMs, were experiencing massive drops in commercial use – essentially
becoming obsolete. USB drives
were both smaller and faster, had vastly more data memory and a wider
range of connectivity. Later in the decade, they would act as the standard
flash drive for most computers and game consoles.
bombers in London kill 56 people, injure 700 others
7th July 2005 London bombings – known as 7/7 – were a series of coordinated
suicide attacks on London's public transport system during the morning
rush hour. The bombings were carried out by four British Muslim men,
three of Pakistani and one of Jamaican descent.
three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other on three London
Underground trains, a fourth exploding an hour later at 09:47 on a double-decker
bus in Tavistock Square. The explosions appear to have been caused by
home-made organic peroxide-based devices, packed into rucksacks and
detonated by the bombers themselves. Fifty-six people were killed, including
the bombers, and around 700 were injured.
Credit: Adam Stacey (CC BY 2.5)
Katrina floods New Orleans
Katrina, of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, was the costliest – and among the deadliest – in the history of the United
States. Of the recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was sixth strongest overall.
formed over the Bahamas on 23rd August 2005 and crossed southern Florida
as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding
there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm
weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on
the morning of 29th August in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe
destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much
of it due to the storm surge.
The most severe
loss of life and property damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana,
which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases
hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually, 80% of the city
and large tracts of neighbouring parishes became flooded, with floodwaters
lingering for weeks.
At least 1,836 people
lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods,
while preliminary damage estimates were in excess of $100 billion –
eclipsing many times the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The levee
failures prompted investigations into their design and construction.
There was also an investigation of the responses from federal, state
and local governments. Years later, thousands of displaced residents
in Mississippi and Louisiana were still living in trailers.
Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany
Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats, became Germany's first
woman chancellor in November 2005. Mrs Merkel, a conservative, headed a coalition with
the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who ruled before. Two years
later, she became President of the European Council and only the second
woman to chair the G8 after Margaret Thatcher. She played
a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and Berlin
Declaration. With domestic policy, healthcare reform and problems concerning
future energy supplies became major issues of her tenure.