The shuttle Columbia landing after mission STS-58. The drag chute is deployed to slow the shuttle down.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Shuttle Returns Safely
News story originally written on May 7, 1998
The shuttle Columbia recently returned after 16 days in space. Some interesting things happened upon landing!
First, five of the seven crew members were carried off of the shuttle in stretchers. Scientists hoped that by keeping the crew members off their feet, their weightless state would be preserved. That way, scientists could do some immediate medical tests.
There were many other scientists waiting at the landing site. In fact, 200 researchers awaited Columbia's arrival so they could begin dissecting the animals that had traveled aboard the shuttle. Scientists would work with 2,000 fish, snails, crickets and other rodents that flew as part of Columbia's Neurolab. A few dozen baby rats were also of interest. It was a race against gravity: the sooner the astronauts and animals could be tested, the greater the chance of seeing microgravity's effect on the nervous system.
You may wonder why there was all of this fuss upon Columbia's landing. The Neurolab that was aboard this mission is of extreme importance. Beyond expanding our knowledge of the neurological system (the most complex system of the body composed of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and sensory organs), the Neurolab is likely to aid in advances in many medical areas. Areas in which we are likely to advance due to research aboard the Neurolab are motion sickness, vertigo, orthostatic intolerance, muscular dystrophy, and even insomnia.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
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 at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...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 are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more