Ten years ago today, the space shuttle Columbia broke up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. I was reading some articles about this the other day and they were discussing the fact that NASA engineers knew before the shuttle even tried to re-enter that the astronauts wouldn’t survive. The damage that had been done on take-off was not repairable and they didn’t have the right equipment up there to do it anyway. They made a decision not to tell the astronauts about the issue. They let them die in ignorance of what was coming.
They also considered an option of letting the astronauts know and then allowing them to orbit until they ran out of oxygen. They eventually decided against that. There was also no time to send another shuttle up to rescue them.
So, ethical question for you today. Would you, as a person in the situation of the astronauts, want to know you were going to die on re-entry or would you want to die in ignorance?
Oh yeah, I’m guest blogging on Naughty Author Chicks today- The lovely Casey Crow invited me over to chat about Doctor, Lover, Baronet. Click here to read.