Air flow about the shuttle upon reentry. A computational fluid dynamics simulation.
Click on image for full size
Welcome Home Columbia!
News story originally written on July 18, 1997
The shuttle Columbia returned to Earth Thurday, July 17. It carried with it important research on the topics of fire and plants.
During the 16 day journey (6.2 million miles later!), the astronauts took turns setting 206 small fires in sealed chambers. They also ignited the weakest flame ever recorded- one that flickered at 1/50 the brightness of a birthday candle!
Cartoon character Popeye would have been content on this mission, as the Columbia astronauts grew spinach, clover and protein crystals during the mission. Future space station residents will also have to grow some of their own food.
"Columbia has performed almost flawlessly, " said Commander James Halsell Jr. Columbia did have a window dent less than
an inch across caused by a tiny meteoroid. The shuttle didn't have any more problems.
NASA's next shuttle flight is a research mission by Discovery in August.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more