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Space Shuttle Columbia Down

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I live in the SE Dallas area; my wife was up early and woke me up "I heard an explosion", and the dogs started barking. I really didn't hear it; went back to sleep. We just turned on the news. Truly horrible.


I worked with several mission specialists analyzing post-flight data on some shuttle fights in the early 90's. They are, universally, of a breed above what many of us could ever aspire to.

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Greg Fokker and richmtn will recognize the close resemblance between today's long-telephoto video clips showing the shooting stars of debris, and a similar sequence of a falling booster rocket (with musical accompaniment) during the final minutes of Koyaanisqatsi.


The ending of Koyaanisqatsi is a musical elegy to Columbia ... or you could see it that way.

Well done, Machinehead. That was one of the first clear thoughts I had as I watched the footage this morning. The flaming debris shot at the end of Koyanisqaatsi, in the context of the film ("Life out of balance" or "a way of life that requires a new way of living") represented to me the ultimate end to which we in our "yang" dominated western/babylon civilization are headed- a spectacular flameout from lofty heights. At least, that's what I believe Ron Fricke and Francis Ford Coppola meant by the shot.


Then there's the analogy to the wax binding our artificial wings being melted as we approach the sun and our falling back to earth...


This is a great tragedy, yet another reminder that grief knows no borders, no bounds, and that accidents happen, and that it's folly to assume otherwise. Why we don't focus on these facts on a global and local and intimate scale, instead of focusing on the superficial differences that separate us, continues to baffle me.

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Why is Fox News reporting that FEMA, Tom Ridge, and the Department of Homeland Security Department are all playing prominent roles in the recovery of pieces of the shuttle and the investigation?


I do not understand their relevance. The only one that could possibly have some relevance for an accident such as this is FEMA (Scattered debris all over a very wide area) but I always thought their mandate was only for very large scale disasters.

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India is also a country which came close to the brink of nuclear war with a neighbor.


This is an appropriate moment for America, India, Israel, and others to reflect. And as Goldmember said, perhaps make some gestures to bridge divides during a moment of collective grief, which would not have been possible otherwise.

This is really sad event for entire world. I'm from India (now in US) but

even while watching Apollo 13 movie I felt proud human.


But, this will be celebrated by some as God's punishment to America, India and Israel. Count on it.

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what strikes me most:


the israeli had a bible with him. This bible was given him form a university professor, What is so special about that?


The university professor was imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp and during that time he was given this bible by a other prisoner when he celebrated his bar-mizvha(spel?). He survived the camp.


:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

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Anita, yes. Foxie, that's quite a story. :cry: MKSloth, you and I are totally on the same page.


FEMA is on the scene because there is concern that any recovered pieces of the shuttle may have highly toxic chemicals on them. That's why they're telling people to stay away from the pieces.

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I just want to say how sad I feel about this.

When I was very young, every kid my age knew the names of all seven Mercury Astronauts. I can still name them. We knew the Gemini astronauts almost as well. When Apollo I burned everyone knew of Gus Grissom, the second astronaut after Glenn to circle the earth, who he was, what he had done, what he looked like. We knew Ed White, the first astronaut to walk in space during the Gemini program. Chaffee was tragic because he was the first of the new generation of astronaut who was going to make his first mission.


The Challenger disaster woke us up to the fact that even though we did not follow the missions as closely, they were still dangerous and it still took courage to go into space.


The 21st Century is, thus far, not panning out as I had hoped at one time it would.

I feel very sad about this.

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This tragedy is, in this nation, anyway, the symbolic equivalent of a mASS psychologocial/emotional train wreck.


Frankly, HRFF is ASStounded it hasn't happened more frequently.


It will be a major setback to the program GUESSES HRFF.


Challenger had the first black female astronaut, didn't it? Odd that things go fatally haywire when minorities are involved.


The outpouring of grief will be the inverse corollary of Americans' misplaced confidence in high technology in general and the space program in particular. This is the sort of loss that, in Russia, would have been absorbed, culturally and politically, as a minor hiccup. Here it is a major media/cultural/psycho-social event. These machines are delicate their missions exceedingly dangerous. When events take their inevitable tragic turn we are shocked far more than we should be, given the nature of the undertaking and the limitations of our abilities.


This is hardly an auspicious portent for a military machine and political apparatus about to initiate a war critically dependent upon sophisticated technology and space-based tech at that. (Satellites will guide all those new "smart" weapons, ASSuming, thatiz, that SadDAMned doesn't knock 'em out with $49 jamming devices, FURst!). And America thinks it's flying about ass high, right now, ass that shuttle was, in terms of it's role in global afFURs...

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The miracle is not that catastrophe doesn' t happen more often, but that success happens at all. Having had some access to the inards of JSC, I can tell you that from the battleship gray government issue desks to the ubiquitous 70's stucco-rock-aluminum-glass architecture, to the mode of dress of most of the employees, little has changed (on the surface) from the Apollo 13 era.


Success against the elements is a 90% intellectual, 10% physical endeavor. The neuronal algorithms that NASA has developed for problem-solving are a modern work of art. Most of the post-office work ethic that plagued NASA in the 80's has been weeded out. The fact that so few can do so much with so little (vs. the design of ANY other "program" ANYWHERE through history-Pyramids, Great Wall, Manhattan Project, whatever) is a testiment to what is truly great about this country, as well as to what this country needs much more of.

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Bareister... for a guy who is never subtle about his accomplishments or voicing his opinions, perhaps you might be more characteristicly clear about what you really ment to express by offering up your statement below.


..."Challenger had the first black female astronaut, didn't it? Odd that things go fatally haywire when minorities are involved..."

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This radar image is posted at the Houston Chronicle:




It starts (left to right) at Jacksonville, Tex. (birthplace of machinehead), runs over Nacogdoches and Hemphill, Texas, and ends at Leesville, La., next to Fort Polk. (This image is probably from Fort Polk radar.)


At the start of the animation, you can see a smaller blue contrail running from Bossier City, La. (just east of Shreveport, and where Barksdale Air Force Base is located) to the southeast, parallel to Interstate 49 (the red line). Normally you would dismiss this as noise. But some of the first reports after the accident spoke about the Louisiana State Police office in Bossier City being deluged with calls about a loud noise and falling debris. And sure enough, the Shreveport Times is reporting debris being found there:




How could a separate debris trail have developed over northwest Louisiana, 80 miles north of the main debris trail across east Texas? I don't have any answers. But it looks strange. Something to think about.

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I neglected to say just how tragic this event is, especially at this time in the World. Truly an International Day of Mourning as Mankind is the reciepient of the deeds and accomplishments of Space exploration.


I salute these fallen heros and the sacrifices given of their families.


Lets hope that the opportunists and purveyors of hate and deviceness don't exploit it as Anita and others (myself included) fear.

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