Posted by: Author | February 1, 2013

Friday Facts- February 1, 2013- Space Shuttle Columbia

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.


  1. I’d want to know. If they had time to say goodbye to their families they should have been given that opportunity. it was a sad day.

    • That was my thought, Darlene- and they were adults and knew that this was a possibility – it seems that they were treated as children.

  2. I would want to know. And be given the choice on the reentry or orbiting.

    • Amen, Lavada. This smacks of Big Brother at its worse to me.

  3. I’d want to know. As Darlene said, they would have had the chance to say their goodbyes. I’m not sure, though, whether I’d choose to re-enter or to orbit. Maybe the latter, in the hope that somehow they could send up a rescue shutttle.

    • I think so, too Paula. I’d want to hope for life as long as I could. AND to say bye to my family.

  4. I’d want to know. Ditto what everyone else said. Oh, and I’d rather stay up there and wait, hoping they could send another shuttle, and run out of oxygen rather than die the other way. I mean, seriously.

  5. I definitely think a person should be told.If you don’t believe in settling your ‘soul’ religiously, then at least your own conscience. No, it isn’t fair to let people die in ignorance and panic.Death is natural and if inevitable,one should face it prepared.

    • I totally agree, Tonette. The “powers that be” screwed that up.

  6. Such a tragedy. Sigh. I would want to know. That’s actually an issue with hubby and me on vacations. He tells the kids “Unless the house burns down I don’t want to know. Heck, even then. Leave it until I get back.” Me, I’m the “Call me ASAP if there’s an issue” person. 🙂

    • I’m with you, Laurie. I always want that call. For sure.

  7. That is awful. They played God and that isn’t fair to those astronauts. The world should have been allowed to join together and pray or send warm thoughts to those astronauts. Sorry, but that disturbs me greatly.

    • I agree, Ciara. It’s very disturbing and yes, the world should’ve been allowed to pray for them before it happened. Can’t help but think they were trying a avoid adverse publicity for the program. What a crime.

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