The 1990s Science and Technology: Chronology

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The 1990s Science and Technology: Chronology

1990:     April 24 The Hubble Space Telescope is placed into orbit by the space shuttle Discovery.

1990:     October 1 The Human Genome Project (HGP) is formally launched.

1991:      Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki (Finland), writes the code for the open-source Linux operating system and releases it over the Internet under a free public license.

1991:     September 26 Four men and four women begin a two-year stay inside a sealed-off structure in Oracle, Arizona, called Biosphere 2.

1992:     May 7 to 16 During a space shuttle mission, three astronauts from the Endeavor simultaneously walk in space for the first time, retrieving and repairing the Intelsat-6 satellite; their walk lasts eight hours and twenty-nine minutes.

1992:     June 9 The largest-ever environmental summit, known as the Earth Summit, opens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with participants from 178 nations.

1993:      An international research team in Paris, France, produces a rough gene map of all twenty-three pair of human chromosomes.

1993:     September 6 The "Doomsday 2000" article, warning about possible Y2K (Year 2000) computer problems, is published in Computerworld by Canadian Peter de Jager.

1994:      Scientists discover three planets orbiting the dim remnants of a star that exploded long ago, evidence of a solar system beyond our own.

1994:     December 15 Netscape Communications Corporation releases its graphical World Wide Web browser, Netscape Navigator 1.0, initiating a communications revolution. Within four months, 75 percent of all Internet users are accessing the Web using this browser.

1995:      J. Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith publish a paper in Science announcing they have successfully mapped the entire genome of Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterium that causes ear infections and meningitis.

1995:     January 2 The most distant galaxy yet observed is found by scientists using the Keck telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The galaxy is estimated to be fifteen billion light-years away from Earth.

1995:     August A group of schoolchildren on a biology class field trip in Minnesota discover deformed frogs, leading to a national fear that pesticides, toxins, and global warming are wreaking havoc on the environment.

1996:      The first U.S. Congressional hearing on the Y2K problem is held, focusing on how federal agencies will prepare their computer systems for the year 2000.

1996:      The first genetically engineered insect, a predator mite that researchers hope will eat other mites that damage strawberries and other crops, is released in Florida.

1996:     September 25 NASA biochemist Shannon Lucid returns home after spending six months aboard the Russian space station Mir, earning her the title of America's most experienced astronaut.

1997:     April 21 The ashes of 1960s LSD guru Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are blasted into space in the first space funeral.

1997:     June 26 The U.S. Supreme Court determines that the Communications Decency Act, meant to regulate "indecent" material on the Internet, is unconstitutional.

1997:     December Representatives from 160 countries meet in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss climate change and draft the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement effective by the year 2012, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming.

1998:      J. Craig Venter and his private research company Celera Genomics announce plans to decode the entire human genome by 2001, years ahead of the government-sponsored Human Genome Project deadline.

1998:     February 21.74 inches of rain fall on Santa Barbara, California—its highest monthly total on record. Scientists speculate that this deluge is the result of weather changes caused by global warming.

1998:     October 29 The space shuttle Discovery launches with seventy-seven-year-old U.S. senator and former astronaut John Glenn aboard as a payload specialist.

1999:     April 30 Science publishes two companion articles indicating that the deformities of the frogs found in Minnesota and other states are primarily caused by a parasite, not by global warming or pesticides as was previously theorized.

1999:     November/December In the world of e-commerce, online holiday sales tripled from a total of $73 million in 1998 to more than $3 billion.

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The 1990s Science and Technology: Chronology