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The Back Story

“While Columbia did not appear to have a nuclear payload onboard, consider the consequences if a rocket powered by a nuclear reactor came down in pieces over Texas or elsewhere on Earth.”

Will the fate of Columbia derail NASA’s $1 billion Nuclear Systems Initiative? Should it? From the Joplin Independent.

 

“The town where Dr. Chawla grew up, and began dreaming first of flight, then of space, is a staid, planned city of 300,000, whose newer sectors were given names like Urban Estate and Model Town. It is in the state of Haryana, which was carved from Punjab in 1966.

“Statistics suggest that the state has taken the cruel art of sex selection, in which female fetuses are aborted, to new heights. Among children under 6, it has 820 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to the 2001 census.”

Whence astronaut Kalpana Chawla came: Will there ever be another like her? From The New York Times.

 

“Columbia is the only one of the fleet’s four shuttles not equipped to dock with the International Space Station. The 90-ton shuttle is too hefty to carry heavy cargoes up to the station as part of the ongoing $60 billion outpost-construction project. And scientists who used to lobby for research missions aboard Columbia are targeting their slim resources toward the station instead.”

Aerotech News comments on the condition and doubts the future of the Columbia shuttle, July 2001.

 

“Some believed a tree had fallen on their houses or a gas line had exploded or a train had derailed. Tracy McCown, 31, the children’s minister at Nacogdoches’ First Baptist Church, said some of her friends believed they were in the grip of a spiritual upheaval. ‘They were like, “Oh, my God, it’s the rapture!”’ she said, laughing a little. ‘You know, we’re Christians.’”

How a little town in Texas responds to the hail of debris. From the Washington Post.

 

“A diplomat stated that it would not be an appropriate background if the ambassador of the United States at the U.N., John Negroponte, or Powell, talk about war surrounded with women, children and animals shouting with horror and showing the suffering of the bombings.”

A reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica, donated by Nelson A. Rockefeller in 1985, goes into hiding. From Art Daily.


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