It seems that nobody knew that we had astronauts in space. Was that because our nation has taken the space-shuttle for granted? Or, were we fixated on the possibility that we might be going to war?
Well, all that changed on Saturday, February 1, 2003 as we turned on our televisions. It reminded us of the unpredictably of life. Seven crew members were lost, during the re-entry into earth's atmosphere.
The disintegration of the space shuttle Columbia over Texas brought home, once again, the dangers inherent every time a modern-day pioneer is shot into space — and the responsibilities that those risks impose.
Copyright photo by Dr. Scott Lieberman.
This e mail I received explains how you might look at it through the eyes of "Science".
This is Science. It is not 9-11 all over again. (9-11 is Sociology of History's cause and effect.)
This is science in action. Think about the number of failures of airplanes (not reported) since the Wright Brothers. This is science. Science has used animals in experiments before to see what happens. This time the animals in this experiment were humans who trained for the job, knowing that this was a high risk experiment.
The astronauts went into the job career of astronaut knowing it was a high risk jobbing involved. They were all scientists, in the continuing experiment of space and intergalactic travel. Until space travel is perfected, there will always be experiments to make the next flight better. These noble people, unlike the 9-11 tragedies, undertook their assignments to become involved in space flight and making it better. There will always be glitches. Each time the glitch will be of a different nature, but the risks are always higher.
Should children be afraid? Yes, they should be afraid if they do not do their school work and their homework. Look at the details of observations from the reports coming in about what was noticed about the physical defects as the astronauts lifted off into space: foam falling off (or some item falling away not as anticipated).
There is an issue of quality control, of someone not doing their jobs as scientist technicians to the best of their ability, of someone slacking off. There was evidence of someone noticing a glitch that could cost the mission's success, but someone kept quiet about it until today with a revelation that there was noticeable foam falling away as an anomaly. There was also speculation today about the different type of tile used that was not the hitherto Corning-tested ware that was used on the other more successfully return completion missions. Either way, folks at NASA learned now to investigate the materials used more closely for their next endeavor into space and return re-entry. This is science. Science. Science.
Science involves always the possibilities of risk in the outcome of experiments not going as anticipated, researching what needs to be made better. This is Science.
More people have died due to negligence in already proven fields not mentioning space flight: pharmaceuticals-pharmacists not reading their labels and prescription instructions giving out the wrong medicines to people. Physicians who use the scribble handwriting instead of writing clearly. Hospital technicians who don't know how to read patient charts correctly because they cheated their way through school, and now have people's lives depending on their abilities to read, but can't match the patient with the medical chart so the patients get inaccurate and deadly treatments for their ailments. Then there are the folks at cash registers who cannot count change, so the fast food places have to put pictures on the registers that automatically ring up prices, but the cashiers still do not know their basic math facts to count change...
Think also about the recalls on cars after numerous accidents because someone at the car plant did not do their job to the best of their ability to design, test the design, and take care of the flaws within deadline time, but rather than hold up production and point out the flaws kept quiet so as to not get into trouble....
Star Trek is not a reality just yet, but
because of our brave astronauts it will be, one day. But even that Stargate and
portal will open up new risks and opportunities for space travel to not only
send from Earth, but also receive from other galactic places.
Until then, we are still experimenting. After then, we are still experimenting.
What will you tell your students?
I will tell my students to follow my classroom rules, because those rules are also the ways that affect the rest of the world in some fashion, and we move on from there doing what we need to do:
1. Look, listen, and learn (aka focus and pay attention).
2. Respond promptly and willingly .
3. Be courteous at all times. (positive attitude makes a big difference in how you do what you do)
4. Respect the right to learn in a safe environment. (Never feel intimidated because you are raising important questions. That is part of thinking and making situations safer. On that Challenger disaster, someone did not raise important questions, someone felt that the questions raised would jeopardize the mission' success...there is a large ripple effect happening.
5. Do the best you can.
What will I tell my students?
from the situation about what you do and how you do affects someone else in some
way. All jobs have risks. When you undertake a job you are taking on all
responsibilities and risks that go with it. Be sure the job you take is one that
you are willing to take. Learn about the risks and rewards of jobs, and
the rewards are not all in the money. Astronauts were paid well, but ....
No matter what job you do or career you are training for, do your job well. Always consider how it will affect someone else up and down the line if you wimp out.
Shall we be afraid of Science? Getting up in the morning is a Science, involving science principals. You can't escape it. Science is a body of and study of knowledge. Use it as a tool......
What will you tell your students?
Loss of human life is always a tragedy, no matter how the tragedy occurred. More people have died on the highways, innocent children at the hands of their trusted caretakers, women at the hands of their beloved husbands because of jealousies. People on death row who have been wrongfully accused; people caught in gang warfare crossfire.
Yes, the Columbia disaster was awful, especially when people show it happening and your mind starts seeing what's going on as it happens.....
What will you tell yourself?
What will you tell your students? On Monday, I will move right along. Life happens in all ways, so let's learn the lessons and apply them accordingly and scientifically.
Links to other sites of interest:
Mrs. Z's Memories of Columbia ~ Beautiful!!
PowerPoint of Columbia Astronauts : Excellent!
FAQ Space Shuttle
Experts Speak Out
Space Shuttle Q&A
As of February 2, 2003