I was never a fan of the US but I am great follower of NASA. While marvelling at the pictures in Tom’s Astronomy Blog, I suddenly remembered the brutal destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia on its 28th mission. <Pardon me. I am currently on my uber nerd mode. And yes, I do watch and read loads and loads of such stuff. Astronomy included. Add to my list: neurobiology, biographies of scientists, actors, painters, writers (what else), world records, and the list goes one. >
There’s a noticeable black smoke on the launch pad. In space missions, this is a bad sign. For Columbia, this moment paved the way to its destruction. The explosion caused a foam in the base of the rocket to ignite and create a hole the size of a football. The damage was not felt instantly. The rocket was able to launch successfully and orbit the earth for more than 300 days. The rocket had seven passengers. Two were women. They were tasked to performed experiments only possible in space. On the day that they were supposed to go back to Earth, the hole in the rocket caused an abnormality in the flight of the rocket upon entering the earth’s atmosphere. The rocket exploded and all its passengers were killed.