Data recovery in extremis: Space Shuttle Columbia

On 1 February 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere following a touch-and-go mission due to the damage incurred by the orbiter during lift off some days earlier. The crew was killed and the shuttle lost, presumably with all of the data collected while in orbit going with it. Save for the data from experiment CXV-2, which gathered information pertaining to the point of critical viscosity of xenon gas.. while poring over the wreckage of the Columbia, the recovery team operating out of the Johnson Space Center found most of the fragments of a 400 …

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