News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinenature-healthenvironment — Viewing Item

Shuttle commander sees wide environmental damage

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Shuttle commander sees wide environmental damage
Thu Aug 4, 2005 7:50 AM ET

By Jeff Franks

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources.

Her comments came as NASA pondered whether to send astronauts out on an extra spacewalk to repair additional heat-protection damage on the first shuttle mission since the 2003 Colombia disaster.

Discovery is linked with the International Space Station and orbiting 220 miles above the Earth.

"Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It's very widespread in some parts of the world," Collins said in a conversation from space with Japanese officials in Tokyo, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

"We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used," said Collins, who was standing with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi in front of a Japanese flag and holding a colorful fan.

Collins, making her fourth shuttle flight, said the view from space made clear that Earth's atmosphere must be protected, too.

"The atmosphere almost looks like an eggshell on an egg, it's so very thin," she said. "We know that we don't have much air, we need to protect what we have."

While Collins and Noguchi chatted, NASA officials were deciding whether a rip in an insulation blanket that protects part of the shuttle surface could tear off and strike the spacecraft when Discovery re-enters the atmosphere, possibly causing damage.

Deputy shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said NASA's concern stemmed from an abundance of caution since Columbia.

"I think in the old days we would not have worried about this so much," he said in a briefing.

The agency was to decide later on Thursday whether to order a spacewalk to repair the blanket. The spacewalk would take place on Saturday if needed.

Noguchi and astronaut Steve Robinson already have done three spacewalks, including a landmark walk on Wednesday to remove loose cloth strips protruding from Discovery's belly. NASA feared the strips could cause dangerous heat damage when the shuttle lands on Monday.

After Discovery comes home, there may not be a shuttle mission for a while because NASA has suspended flights until it figures out how to stop insulation foam from the spacecraft's external fuel tank from coming loose at launch.

Loose tank foam was blamed for the break up of Columbia over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, and was spotted again when Discovery blasted off on July 26.

A report in The New York Times suggested NASA was not as careful as it could have been about the loose foam issue.

A briefcase-size piece of foam broke from its fuel tank and struck Columbia at launch, punching a hole in its wing heat shield. Sixteen days later, superheated gases entered the breach as the ship descended into the atmosphere for landing, causing it to break apart and killing its seven astronauts.

NASA spent 2 1/2 years and $1 billion on safety upgrades after Columbia and was dismayed to see loose foam at Discovery's launch.

The Times said an internal NASA memo, written in December by a retired NASA engineer brought back to monitor the quality of the foam operation, complained deficiencies remained in the way foam was being applied to the fuel tank and warned "there will continue to be a threat of critical debris generation."

A NASA spokesman told the newspaper a response to the memo had been written, but could not be released because of confidentiality rules.

A spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston told Reuters he had not yet seen the Times report and could not comment.

All purpose cleanser for hippies health enthusiasts { December 3 2007 }
Another earth
Bill chill florida as farms replace wetlands
Bush administration deregulates wetlands
Bush supports dam { August 23 2003 }
Caribbean coral suffers record death { March 30 2006 }
Crimes against nature rfk
Deep sea fish wiped out
Democrat energy bill nightmare
Dicaprio { August 12 2002 }
Dolphin beachings came after sub excercises
Environ bush split { June 3 2002 }
Epa decides golf courses better than wetlands { October 31 2003 }
Epa nominee is approved { October 28 2003 }
Epa scraps changes to clean water act { December 17 2003 }
Extinctions feared for many marine species { August 24 2005 }
Federal lands
Fight persists between tap and bottle drinking water
Gop senates push energy bill { July 28 2003 }
How green is bp { December 8 2002 }
Humanity will pay
Humans living far beyond the planets means
Hydrogen fuel cells no solution { August 18 2003 }
Iceberg antartica { May 21 2002 }
Jeb asks why hurricanes keep hitting florida { October 19 2005 }
Judge ruling hurts wolves { February 2 2005 }
National parks raise snowmobile usage limits
Oxygen levels in bay disputed { July 23 2004 }
Ozone hole shrinks
Penguins flock to rio de janeiro { January 18 2001 }
Plant extinction
Plunge in big fish
Possible key to ice age climate change revealed { April 15 2004 }
Quarter extinction
Republicans adopt democrats energy bill { August 1 2003 }
Ruling scraps bush plan limits snowmobiles in yellowstone
Senate votes to open alaska oil drilling
Shuttle commander sees wide environmental damage
Sixth mass extinction disppearing butterflies
Sonar blamed for beached whales { July 23 2004 }
Sun screen lotion hurting coral reefs { May 23 2008 }
Technology save earth
They flattened this mountaintop to find coal { January 16 2005 }
Time bomb
Tsunami death toll tops 226 thousand
Tsunami near japan 16 inces high { October 2006 }
Tsunami near japan expected over 6 ft high { October 2006 }
Vapor trails { August 8 2002 }
Vineyard expansion is hurting the environment { June 21 2004 }
Wetlands loss blamed for freeze in florida
Wind energy could provide 20perc US power { May 13 2008 }
World fish supply may be exhausted by 2050 { November 3 2006 }

Files Listed: 52


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple