Monday, February 03, 2003
Meanwhile the recovery work goes on.
The US space agency NASA has retracted an earlier statement by one of its senior officials that remains from all seven of the dead Columbia crew members had been found.
"Unfortunately, Mr Bob Cabana misspoke. He was misinformed about it beforehand," Johnson Space Centre spokeswoman Kylie Moritz told AFP in a telephone interview.
"We have not confirmed that remains from all seven crew members have been found."
Cabana, who heads flight crew operations at the centre, told reporters earlier in the day that some remains from the astronauts who lost their lives in the Columbia disaster had already been located.
The space shuttle broke apart over central Texas Saturday, minutes before its scheduled landing in Florida.
Moritz said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration could confirm that search groups had found "some remains" but it was unable to say at this point to how many people they belonged.
And lest we forget, the Australian connection.
The students had delivered eight garden orbweaver spiders, bred at Melbourne Zoo, to the mission control centre after three years of preparing an experiment on the effect of zero gravity on the spiders' webs. Gram for gram, spider silk is stronger than steel, and scientists were hoping for some insight as to how its structure could be imitated to manufacture a light, flexible fibre with immense strength.
Associate Professor Lachlan Thompson, from the aerospace engineering department at RMIT University, was also at the lift-off. It was he who tipped off Ms Pratt to the competition run between Victorian schools to get an experiment on the shuttle. [...]
Ms Pratt said the students would be offered counselling but their work on the project would continue.
"We have got sufficient data and pictures of the spiders spinning their webs," she said.