A closer look at key historic events that took place on April 7:

In 2001, NASA launches the Mars Odyssey spacecraft

The spacecraft was launched on 7 April 2001 and entered Mars’ orbit on 24 Oct. 2001. Its mission included sending photos of the planet back to Earth and making the first global map of the amount and distribution of chemical elements and minerals on Mars’ surface. It successfully completed its primary science mission between February 2002 and August 2004. The operation remains active today.

Amid billows of smoke and steam the Boeing Delta II rocket carrying the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft blasts into the clear blue sky from Launch Complex 17-A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. April 7, 2001. NASA

In 1994, the Rwandan Genocide begins

Even though killings had started the night before, when Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian politician Cyprien Ntaryamira were assassinated, it was on April 7 that Hutu extremists assassinated Rwandan Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, officially throwing the country into a period of anarchy and mass killings. It is estimated that 800,000 people were slaughtered within the space of 100 days.

A picture dated 24 April 1995 showing UN soldiers removing the body of a man killed 22 April by the Rwandan Patriotic Army, near the school of the Kibeho displaced people camp. Six years after the genocide of 1994, Rwanda has yet to finish giving victims a proper burial. APE

In 1990, the MS Scandinavian Star catches on fire

The MS Scandinavian Star, a passenger ferry, caught fire while sailing from Norway to Denmark. The fire, which broke out in the middle of the night, claimed the lives of 159 people. Investigations revealed evidence of arson, with multiple points of origin for the fire discovered on board. Despite investigations, no conclusive evidence was found to determine the exact cause or identify the perpetrators.

Cruiseferry MS Scandinavian Star in Lysekil harbour, Sweden. April 1990. Terje Fredh / Sjöhistoriska museet

In 1948, the World Health Organization is established

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was established in response to the need for a global health authority to coordinate international health efforts and address public health challenges on a global scale, particularly in the aftermath of World War II. Its constitution was agreed upon and signed on 22 June 1946 by 61 states and came into force on 7 April 1948.

Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization, WHO – OMS, Headquarters by day. Shutterstock

In 1939, Benito Mussolini makes Albania a protectorate of Italy

In 1939, fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini annexed Albania and installed Italy’s Victor Emmanuel III as king, sending Albanian King Zog I into exile.

Stamp of Albania – 1939 – Colnect 136586 – King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and plane over mountains. Wikimedia Commons

– Don’t miss out on To Vima’s daily “On this Day in History” posts.