Flying for me

This image was acquired by the Space Shuttle Columbia with a digital camera during the STS-107 mission. It shows the Sun playing with the Earth’s atmosphere, spreading a wide and suggestive glow.

Credits: NASA

Columbia’s crew perished during a tragic accident on their return to Earth on February 1, 2003. This photo was released by NASA on Remembrance Day 2022, nineteen years after that terrible tragedy.

Unfortunately it was not the only serious accident in the program. A few years earlier – 1986 ran – there was the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster which was destroyed after just 73 seconds of flight. Again all the crew members died. A beautiful song by John Denver, Flying for me – dedicated to this event – appeared on the album One World, of the same year.

This tragedy (rightly) imposed a stop on the Shuttle program, for an accurate review of all procedures in order to guarantee greater safety for the crews. The Hubble Space Telescope was expected to start in 1986, but following the disaster it underwent a shift forward for several years. The telescope had to be kept in a special laboratory with purified air, turned on and cleaned with nitrogen, which made the costs considerably rise. It was finally launched in 1990.

There are no words to remember these sacrifices, which do not expose themselves to the risk of rhetoric. Perhaps meditative silence is better, or resonating with the emotional participation of an artist like John Denver. Rest in peace, all those who have sacrificed their lives for the desire to explore it, following a healthy desire for knowledge.


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