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Science at NASA

Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Feb. 4th, 2003: At the dawn of the space age some 40 years ago, we always
knew who was orbiting Earth or flying to the Moon. Neil Armstrong, Yuri
Gagarin, John Glenn. They were household names--everywhere.
Lately it’s different. Space flight has become more “routine.” Another
flight of the shuttle. Another visit to the space station. Who’s onboard
this time? Unless you’re a NASA employee or a serious space enthusiast,
you might not know.
Dave Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson,
William McCool, and Ilan Ramon
Now we know. Those are the names of the seven astronauts who were
tragically lost on Saturday, Feb. 1st, when the space shuttle Columbia
(STS-107) broke apart over Texas.
Before the accident, perhaps, they were strangers to you. But if that's
so, why did you have a knot in your gut when you heard the news? What
those tears all about? Why do you feel so deep-down sad for seven
Astronauts have an unaccountable hold on us. They are explorers. Curious,
humorous, serious, daring, careful. Where they go, they go in peace.
kid wants to be one. Astronauts are the essence of humanity.
They are not strangers. They are us.
While still in orbit Dave Brown asked, jokingly, “do we really have to
come back?”
No. But we wish you had. 
The Science@NASA team, as does all of NASA and the world, extends
heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the STS-107
crew. Please see the NASA Home Page (http://www.nasa.gov) for more
information on the Columbia Investigation.
--Tony Phillips, Ron Koczor, Bryan Walls, Becky Bray, Patrick Meyer.

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