Today 25 years ago the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded high in the sky shortly after liftoff, taking the lives of seven astronauts on board, including a school teacher. In a congressional hearing on the causes of the tragic accident, the eminent physicist Richard Feynman would later elegantly demonstrate to the public that the O-ring seals in the booster rockets lost elasticity at freezing temperatures. He dropped a piece of the material into an ice water cup in front of him, letting it soak for a while. He then took it out and pinched it. The result was lasting indentations, affirming that the material changed its properties dramatically with dropping temperatures.
|Space Shuttle Decoy at Huntsville, AL, showing the white booster rocket and the brown fuel tank.|
- Political considerations may have played a pivotal role in the tragic decision of Challenger's launch. Listen to May-Lily Lee's interview with former NASA employee Richard C. Cook with the title "Virginia Conversations: The Whistleblower" aired by Virginia Public Radio Nov. 11, 2013. Richard wrote a book about his experience with the title "Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age" (11/19/2013).