Moments in History

Diana: Goddess of the Moon

The Roman goddess Diana, as you may remember, was the goddess of the moon, among other things. It would make sense, then, that the US Army Signal Corps would name their little experiment Project Diana. This little experiment took place in January 1946, and opened the door to serious thought of space travel.

Project Diana was executed from Camp Evans in Wall Township, NJ. The goal was to transmit a signal at the moon, then receive the reflected signal. What is now called Earth-Moon-Earth, the great minds of the time were not sure that radio signals could penetrate the ionosphere, and if it did the cheese from the moon might just absorb it all. The transmitter was a modified SCR-271 radar set left over from the war. An array of antennae were constructed to send then receive the signal.

It worked! On January 10, 1946 a signal sent from the transmitter was received by the receiver. This was the first time humans had “touched” another celestial body, and opened the door for both the space race and radio telescopes.

Scientists finally concluded, based on the signal echo, that the moon is primarily a hard cheese, like Parmigiano-Reggiano.

[Image Credits: Public Domain]

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano? That's just silly; everybody nowadays knows the moon is made of something much more akin to a nice, complex Dutch. Thank goodness we live in a scientifically enlightened age.

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  • I'm partial to Gruyere.

  • OA5599

    Today if you started a project with the goal of touching Diana, you would get a visit from HR.

    • skitter

      This was also the forefather of the socially-more-acceptable virtual poke.

  • PowerTryp

    Which Wallace and Gromit confirmed in their documentary "A Grand Day Out".

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    • I introduced my niece to A.G.D.O. when she was about 3-1/2. She then insisted on watching it every time she came to our house (2-3 times a month) until she was about 12.

      Frankly, I have yet to get sick of it.

      • Mr_Biggles

        We have yet to be exposed to it, but we're always looking for stuff that's low on violence and explosions. So it would be good for my girls 4 and 7?

        • It's quite charming and gentle, but still an adventure, though really little kids may find the Brit vibe slightly strange. Perfect for kids and adults to watch together. Even more so than the later Wallace & Grommit films. It's only 30 minutes long.

          • Mr_Biggles

            Sounds perfect. Thanks.

  • tiberiusẅisë

    I've always said, reaching out and touching the moon is better than the moon reaching out and touching you.

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