Lunar Orbiter I's photo of EarthAug. 23, 1966: NASA’s Lunar Orbiter I, in the midst of a mission to photograph the surface of the moon, takes a black-and-white photograph of a rising Earth (at right). It’s the first time earthlings get to view their planet from elsewhere.

Aug. 23, 2005: Tropical Depression 12 forms near the Bahamas. In the next week, the storm that would become Hurricane Katrina crosses South Florida, gains power over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and wreaks tremendous damage in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Aug. 23, 2010: The Center for Responsive Politics reports that pro-environment lobbying and spending has skyrocketed to more than $22 million in 2009 — double the average spending for the past nine years. But that increase is dwarfed by opponents to environmental legislation. The oil and gas industry spent $175 million in 2009. Exxon/Mobil alone outspent the entire environmental community by several million dollars.

Aug. 23, 2011: In the middle of a business day, a once-in-a-lifetime, 5.8 earthquake rattles the U.S. East Coast.  While the officially-defined “moderate” quake causes little damage, the unusual rattling of Washington, New York, and other cities makes it a major story.   Virginia’s North Anna nuclear plant, near the epicenter, shuts down.

Aug. 23, 2012:  Weeks closing environmental research facilities and laying off scientists, the Canadian government cancels nearly 3,000 environmental assessments on energy and construction projects.  An opposition party leader called the decision “beyond comprehension.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.