Space history! On this day (April 9th) in 1959, the newly formed NASA announced the names of the first seven astronauts in its inaugural human space program, Mercury. For those who might not remember, they were: Scott Carpenter Gordon Cooper John Glenn Gus Grissom Wally Schirra Alan Shepard Donald Slayton Chosen from over 100 applicants, the seven were subjected to some of the most rigorous, painful, and sometimes ridiculous testing ever conceived to prepare them for the unknown dangers beyond Earth's environs. We saw some of this represented in the movie The Right Stuff. One cannot help but admire these men who were willing, and eager, to be literally shot out of this world. As an interesting side note, recent observations and evidence has shown that our planet's atmosphere actually extends much farther than previously thought, up to 630,000 kilometres, which encompasses the orbit of the moon. This means, technically speaking, no human has ever left Earth's atmosphere.