February 01, 2003
The Columbia

By now, everybody knows that at 9am this morning, while the space shuttle Columbia entered the Earth's atmosphere, it came apart 200,000 feet above the ground and was destroyed.

I was standing in Walmart when I heard an older woman saying to her husband that the space shuttle had been destroyed while landing. I asked Kevin if he'd heard it. Our children went on chattering, not really understanding why we had to go look for a TV in the electronics department, or stop and listen to the radio. And we stood there, amongst the aisles of the store, listening to the news. I still had difficulty believing it.

On Thursday I went out to lunch with the other managers and our boss. We were talking about "where were you when" because someone mentioned that the seventeenth anniversary of the Challenger had just passed. I remember vividly where I was -- in art class, listening to the launch on the radio. I was dazed for the rest of the day.

Much like today. Almost exactly seventeen years later. I couldn't process it, couldn't seem to absorb it really. I just kept thinking about it.

I mentioned in the car that I didn't expect any space missions in the latter half of January, into early February, after this. After all, both space shuttle catastrophes have happened within the same week -- January 28th and February 1st.

Now I'm almost certain of it. In 1967, on January 27th, the Apollo 1 fire occurred. There have been only three fatal disasters, that I'm aware of, in the history of the space program. They have occurred within a five day span. And roughly 20 years apart.

I just hope our space program can recover. I think we need it... we need to science, we need the hope, we need the belief that there is something out there worth striving for.

Posted by Deb Atwood at February 01, 2003 08:45 PM | TrackBack
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