[LINK] Shuttle crash

Adam Todd adam@todd.inoz.com
Sun, 02 Feb 2003 09:19:38 +1100


>I feel very bad when the craft which represent the crystalisation of
>hundred of thousands of human life-times' effort, and which have the job
>of taking people safely into space, or across the ocean, fail
>catastrophically and kill all those on board.  I think it doesn't mean
>we should stop doing these things.  But we need to learn to avoid the
>organisational stupidity which caused the Titanic and Challenger
>disasters.  Engineering problems and natural occurrences are bad enough!

More people are killed on the roads in a single day in Australia (and many 
more in the USA), than are killed in a Shuttle.  Admiration aside, thoughts 
of Stupidity aside, the reality is those people take a risk, albeit so 
minor in comparison to many risks taken every day by many people, or on the 
other hand far greater than the risks taken by a school child sitting in a 
class room, the reality is, it's a job, a chosen job, the families know 
that anything going wrong can be fatal, and they accept that.

(Gosh look at Afghanistan, soldiers are killed there too, they take risks 
perhaps more dangerous than the safe feeling of getting in a shuttle and 
doing a round trip, they don't know if the bullet or bomb is on it's way at 
all, can't even calculate where it might come from or how it might hit 
them, just know it's going to be there and if they are lucky, it will miss 
them.)

And 9 were killed on a train two days ago.  How many were on the 
shuttle?  (Not belittling their risk, just belittling the "stop the 
shuttle" thoughts.)

So Space travel is a pioneering frontier, assuming we're doing something 
new with it.  If we stop progressive development in space now, we're going 
to have many more problems, especially territorial, in the future.

The earth is too small for the faction minded people who live here now.

>I think this is a special time to remember the gutsiness of those who do
>travel into space, and to marvel at the fact that the Space Shuttle, and
>spaceflight in general - and commercial aviation especially - has been
>as safe as it has.

Walking into the street is a risk, a shuttle flight is no different, it's 
just different in the way it's approach, the way people do it and the 
enormous effort and man power to make it all work.

I'd LOVE to hop on a shuttle and do something useful.  But like the billion 
other people every day, I'll not be there.  I'll be watching and wishing it 
were me.

>Yesterday I walked past the house where I was having dinner when the
>Challenger explosion came on the telly.   Tonight, I was writing to the
>Evolutionary Psychology mailing list when I checked my email, and had a
>sinking feeling when I saw Stephen Loosley's Link message.  Its not a
>happy association, because I will always remember you name in this
>context, but thanks Stephen for posting this to Link.

Tragedy does bring triumph, so lets not mourn, even if what happened 
results in something that perhaps could have been avoided 
earlier.  Although I must admit, I watched Challenger and it wasn't 
something that leaves one's mind, even after 17 odd years.

I just hope Columbia's crew are found OK.  I find it hard to imagine that a 
shuttle has totally vanished over the land of the USA.  Partially 
maybe.  Not even Challenger vaporized.  There may be a hero's welcome yet.