3 February, 2003: The embarrassing power of prescience

[ Home page | Web log ]

This article by Gregg Easterbrook was published in 1980:

The external fuel tank, for instance, is full of oxygen and hydrogen cooled to -400F to make the gases flow as liquids. Ice will form on the tank. When Columbia's tiles started popping off in a stiff breeze, it occurred to engineers that ice chunks from the tank would crash into the tiles during the sonic chaos of launch: Goodbye, Columbia. So insulation was added to the tank.

Oops.

Oh, and a classic `they're not like us' moment from an article in The Times:

Officials from Nasa arrived on Saturday night to retrieve the helmet, which Mr Couch had guarded throughout the day. ``We had about 300 people come up here to look and I was told by the sheriff not to let anyone touch it, see. So I guarded it. But everyone was well behaved. I didn't have to get my gun.''

Copyright (c) 2003 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.