RIP, intrepid souls

Three years ago today, I awoke from a nap in London and learned that the spaceship Columbia had disintegrated upon re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere, killing everyone aboard and once more casting the future of space exploration into doubt. The images were all the more shocking because Challenger was 17 years and 3 or 4 days behind us, and at one time that was the worst thing we thought we'd ever see in our lives -- it was to have been, I imagine, our November 22, 1963. But of course, as we now know, that day is September 11, 2001.

Rest in peace, Dave Brown, Willie McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon, who braved the last frontier and lived every second on the edge, 'til the end.


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