Thursday, February 10, 2005

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Shuttle Payloads - Columbia STS-107

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
When Columbia exploded in February 2003, the Hippo was still asleep. Tom told me later they saw a streak of light followed by several booms at dawn in Tahoe. Inside Columbia payload bay were containers of lab rodents who survived 16 days in space. That was the bio experiment FRESH-02 (Fundamental Rodent Experiments Supporting Health) managed by Marilyn Vasques, Science Payloads at Nasa Life Sciences Division. Vasques gave us a talk about how a scientific experiment got to be on the shuttle, her work and experience with shuttle payloads. This was the first time I actually heard from someone who knew and worked with the STS107 crew, who was at Columbia's launch, at Mission Control, and again at Kennedy waiting for Columbia to land. She never saw her rats again. Her story brought tears to my eyes. It was one of the most emotional seminars I've attended. Usually the tears were for overwhelming awe. This time I understood what it sometimes took to get us to where we are now.

Ordinary people like the Hippo does not know how the shuttle missions had benefited our lives. These experiments ranged from bioscience to biomedical, physical and space science, agriculture and technology and helped develop new products to use on earth.

Next time you see the shuttle on TV, remember the sunglasses you wear, the flavor in your food and the cosmetic your girlfriend wears.

To Improve Life Here
To Extend Life to There
To Find Life Beyond

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