back to article Columbia debris emerges from Texas lake

A drought in Texas has revealed a piece of space shuttle Columbia, destroyed on re-entry over the state on 1 February, 2003. The 40-inch spherical reactant tank emerged from the waters of Lake Nacogdoches, close to Nacogdoches in eastern Texas, where a substantial amount of Columbia debris fell following the disaster. …


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  1. Andus McCoatover

    This is about as good as it gets


    1. Michael Thibault
      Thumb Up

      Agreed, astounding, but...

      View the image at each of the other 3 possible orientations; one of them, of course, is unpleasant to think about, but two of them display a more likely orientation of the original framing of that image.

  2. Steve Evans


    "One of the guys had been here more than 30 years and recognized it, and said, 'That's one of the tanks"...

    So are you saying that more recently employed engineers couldn't recognise bits of a space craft design which was operational until the other week?


    1. Ru

      Not everone has eidetic memory...

      Its a tank. One tank looks a fair bit like another. Its usually buried inside a space shuttle, where not everyone gets to look. Why would every other NASA engineer recognise a random bit of ironmongery?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Oh THAT part

      That's right - most engineers who worked on the shuttle remember all 1 million+ components!

      1. Liam Johnson

        re: 1 million+ components!

        True, but 95% of those are probably standard sized screws.

  3. Craig 28

    Thermal protection system...

    Otherwise known as the heat shield. Can't we just bloody call things by what they are rather than giving them over complicated names already? It isn't as if you say you're going to the "human waste disposal system" when you go to the toilet now is it?

    1. jackharbringer

      Re: Thermal protection system...

      You say tomA-to I say solanum lycopersicum. In general I find calling things by their exact definition makes for clearer communication. Especially in scientific discussion, using specific terms can be crucial.

      Having said that, in the aforementioned cases, I'd probably go with heat shield, tomat-O, and bog, respectively.

      1. Pete B Silver badge


        You would indeed expect them to get specific terms right, but then she goes on to say:-

        "The only reason it's exposed is because there's a drought going on and the tank was under the lake,"

        It's *in* the frickin lake, not under it.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge


          Well, it was *under* the water that is no longer there, and as the water is not there surely the lake is now not there. So presumably it was *under* the lake but is now *on* the land.


          Depending on how much silt build up there has been it may now actually be *in* the ground :)

  4. andy gibson


    If you go around saying solanum lycopersicum you're asking for a slap!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      @andy gibson

      "Solanum Lycopersicum!"

      <Thumbs nose>

      (Damn. I was holding a wand when I said that and I've just changed my Conservatory into an enormous vat of Wolf Chilli.)

  5. adnim

    Are they sure?

    looks like a damaged Texans golf ball to me.

    1. Steve Knox

      How many...

      damaged Texans do you know who play golf?

      1. hamcheeseandonion

        How many Damaged Golf-Playing Texans do I know?

        One would be enough I should think, which is one more than I actually know -

        which is, when I think about it, rather pleasing.

        Beer icon?

        Just a wee toast to all those marvellously insane people who went up in those things, but especially to those who didn't come back downm in one piece.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well if you're going to ask

  6. daple56

    Things Americans will never hear!

    I think newspapers here in the U. S. are censoring what we hear. I don't think we will be ever informed about the space debris in the lake in Texas. But, more importantly, the fact that wind farms are damaging we will never hear. Here in Hawaii, the state is planning on building hundreds of turbines on the islands of Lanai and on Molokai. Lanai is completely owned by Dole Food Corporation, so, I guess we know what will happen there.

    Keep up the good work. The Register is fascinating.

  7. Nights_are_Long


    I find it remarkable that they are still finding large chunks of it, wasn't the recovery effort one of the largest in history?

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