I wasn't originally going to mention the shuttle disaster here - I… - John C. Kirk
Feb. 2nd, 2003
I wasn't originally going to mention the shuttle disaster here - I emailed some people with a pointer to the news article, so they'd know about it, but I didn't have much to say, beyond the obvious. It's strange to think that people who are undergraduates now won't remember the Challenger firsthand (since this year's freshers would have been 2 years old at the time). That affected me more, but I think that's mainly because I knew about the launch in advance, whereas I didn't even know the Columbia was on its way back to Earth until the news broke. When the Challenger launched in 1986, I was 11, and I remember all the publicity beforehand, when they were selecting a civilian to join the crew.
I certainly hope that this doesn't result in the space station being abandoned. I truly believe that the space program is important, if for no other reason than that this planet won't last forever (even if we avoid the meteors, the sun will eventually run out of hydrogen), and our descendants will need a new home.
Life being ironic sometimes, I've just started re-reading "Komarr" (a Bujold novel), which has the lead character investigating an accident in space. Quote I came across earlier today: "He started working his way through the six reports. They were more detailed than the prelims he'd already seen, but contained no surprises. By this time, he wanted a surprise, something, anything beyond Spaceship blows up for no reason, kills seven." I think there are lots of people at NASA who would echo those sentiments right now.