[meteorite-list] OT: Debris Found In Joshua Tree May Be From Columbia

From: Matson, Robert <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:18:25 2004
Message-ID: <AF564D2B9D91D411B9FE00508BF1C86901B4E6F1_at_US-Torrance.mail.saic.com>

Hi Ron,

I still think they are way over-stating the probabilities for
this piece of metal debris. I saw it on the news last night --
it could honestly be ANYTHING. There are no serial numbers on
it that I could see, so tracing it to Columbia at this stage
is nothing more than an uneducated guess.

"The path the shuttle took on its failed journey home carried it
well north of the Coachella Valley and the Joshua Tree area, but
officials say it is possible that debris could have fallen in the

"Officials" might say that; I wonder about *engineers*.

"A 4 inch by 4 inch piece of metal is at the center of all the
attention, and is now believed to be part of the space shuttle

"Now believed" by whom? The sheriff? No one from NASA has yet
examined the piece.

> All this started when Bob Beggs spotted a shiny piece of
> metal in his driveway Saturday afternoon. "I thought it
> was a piece of trash that had blown in," he says. But
> after closer inspection, Bob realized it was much more than
> a piece of trash from the desert. He says it was hot to the
> touch.

I was in the Mojave desert that day. It was sunny and warm.
What happens when you put a piece of metal out in the sun
in the desert? Honestly, the "evidence" here is hardly worth
mentioning. To summarize, we've got a small, non-descript
metal frame found in the hot desert sun, hundreds of kilometers
from Columbia's ground track. This is going to turn out to be
nothing. And when it does, the same thing will happen that
always happens: the story will quietly go away, and no one
in the media will point out how unlikely it was to be a piece
of Columbia in the first place. Same thing that happens with

Received on Thu 06 Feb 2003 09:18:05 PM PST

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