Saturday, April 23, 2022

Always Question the Science!

Hello Time Travelers!

Thanks for stopping in today.  Today I'm taking you back to the 80's!  In reality there are a multitude of examples, but any time I get back to the 80's I will.  And, this is just a prime example.

Not 100% related, but close enough.  This was a Denver born American NASA Astronaut buried right here in Denver.  Post space career, he later ran for Congress but died as he was sworn in - only seven days before beginning his congressional term at the age of 51.  He died of bone marrow cancer.  Cool guy who did some super cool things in a short 51 years. 

Some of my readers may be too young to remember the Space Shuttle Challenger and the horrific disaster that ultimately changed NASA forever.  I was on a cusp of turning 7 when it happened and it quashed all my dreams of being an space traveler.

I have a friend who worked on the Challenger and watched the space shuttle as it was getting rolled out unto the pad.  And, after it got rolled out, it just sat there from Thanksgiving 1985 until its launch date on January 28, 1986.  Ironically, the day the Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center, it was 28 degrees outside, which is abnormally cold for Florida.  Ice cycles were forming on the space shuttle.

Full blown investigations after the tragedy reveled that the cause of the explosion was from two O-ring seals in the shuttle's right solid rocket booster (manufactured by a company named Morton Thiokol.)  The O-rings apparently went through rigorous "scientific tested" in Utah - and never at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or at the much different altitude and humidity.

On January 28th, (as it was later revealed) both engineers at NASA and Morton Thiokol had multiple discussions regarding their concerns of the consequences of the freezing temperatures and the lack of testing.  However, due to mounting political pressures and the fact the Challenger had been sitting on the launch pad for two solid months, the "leadership" made the rash decision "to light the candle" with seven innocent astronauts aboard (and their families eagerly watching them make history.)

Only 73 seconds after liftoff, the Challenger exploded.

The seven NASA astronauts tragically killed.

The Challenger exploding while onlookers stood and watched.

All contracts at Kennedy Space Center were immediately capped while Lockheed recovered all the parts and the missing astronauts.  All were relocated to a warehouse.  The astronauts were eventually located and found dead in an "explosion proof capsule."  While it was unclear whether a concussion killed them from the explosion, the fact that there was zero parachute apparatus on said capsules were brought into question.  Why didn't an explosion proof capsule have a parachute?  Since then the engineers at NASA, fully believing in the theory of gravity, have put parachutes on all capsules.

The toxic leadership at NASA was looked into extensively.  Basically the leadership model was never to question anyone, especially if you sat towards the bottom of the food chain, so to speak.  Leadership never makes mistakes, right?  How dare you question someone in power!

Not just toxic leadership of not being able to question science, but political power, money, and jeopardized the lives of others.

Between 2020 to current, it's like we've learned nothing from tragedies of past events in the USA from blindly following science.  It's our jobs to question science.  Each and every one of us.  You either learn from history or you're doomed to repeat it.

In honor of those who tragically lost their lives because it wasn't apropos to question science, I leave you with this gem from the 80's:

Thanks for stopping in and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, space cadets!


1 comment:

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