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.|