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RESEARCHERS ASSESS STATUS OF STS-107 SCIENTIFIC DATA



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Dolores Beasley/Melissa Motichek
Headquarters, Washington          February 5, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1753/1141)
 
RELEASE: 03-52
 
RESEARCHERS ASSESS STATUS OF STS-107 SCIENTIFIC DATA
 
     The launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 16, 
2003 represented an exciting time for the international 
research community.  Columbia carried more than 80 
experiments on a 16-day mission devoted entirely to science.
 
NASA and its researchers are working to determine exactly 
how much data was lost with the Columbia crew. Some 
scientific data from Columbia was downlinked to experimental 
teams on Earth during the mission.   
 
The payload data were impounded by investigators looking 
into Saturday's accident, so it will take some time to 
evaluate the results. Already, researchers are pointing to 
several achievements by the Columbia astronauts, and by the 
scientists on the ground who supported them. These include: 
*  Shuttle astronauts created and observed the weakest 
flames ever created. High-quality image data from the 
SOFBALL (Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-Number) 
experiment exists and, according to the project's Principal 
Investigator, can help scientists develop models of 
combustion chemistry for cleaner-burning engines.
*  The Laminar Soot Processes experiment also saw flame 
phenomena never before created on or off Earth.  Soot is 
both a significant hazard to health and engine performance 
on Earth, and under controlled circumstances, a useful 
industrial product.
*   The MIST (Water Mist Fire Suppression) experiment, which 
was designed to investigate the use of fine water mists in 
firefighting, achieved a qualitative understanding for 
different water concentrations.
*  The Israeli Mediterranean Dust Experiment, or MEIDEX, 
studied the effects of desert dust and smoke plumes on the 
climate and obtained important still images and video to be 
studied in the future. The MEIDEX experiment also resulted 
in the first calibrated images of an atmospheric phenomenon 
known as an "elf," or an electrical halo that glows over the 
tops of storm clouds.  
*  A life sciences experiment on prostate cancer aboard 
Columbia documented greater-than-expected growth of tumor 
aggregates in space. 
 
However, most of the other experiments on STS-107, such as 
those in Life Sciences, relied heavily on specimens, 
samples, and other data that were lost with Columbia.
 
NASA remains committed to the pursuit of science in space, 
knowing that the unique environment offers something never 
before achievable in the history of humankind: a glimpse of 
what our life -- what nature itself -might be like in a 
world with a different level of gravity. 
 
"All seven Columbia astronauts sought to advance human 
exploration of space," said Mary Kicza, Associate 
Administrator for NASA's Office of Biological and Physical 
Research. "They dedicated their lives to NASA and their 
countries, and helped us uncover knowledge that could help 
improve the lives of all people."
 
More information on the research performed by the Columbia 
crew is available on the internet at:
 
http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov
 
 
 

 
 
 

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