On this day in 1959 Explorer 6 is launched by NASA and sent into orbit around the earth. It transmitted the first image of our planet from space. What it sent was a grainy, black and white image of part of the earth, while hard to make out, is actually Mexico.
On this day in 1782 George Washington creates the Badge for Military Merit, later to become the Purple Heart. Washington made the award so that the person who received it would be distinguished over the common soldier. Only three soldiers were given it during the American Revolution. They were able to pass through any military post or sentinels without challenge. It was largely forgotten for 150 years, when Gen. Douglass MacArthur reinvented the award to be given to any soldier killed or wounded in the field of battle.