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

From: Tom aka James Knudson <knudson911_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:18:25 2004
Message-ID: <000b01c2ceda$118de720$b2c743d8_at_malcolm>

Hello Ron and List, I do not have the educated background that Ron and Rob
have but I do have plenty of common sense. I do know people as well as
anyone else on the list and know that some well meaning people will jump to
conclusions! There is trash laying all over this country, some of it has
been laying on the ground for 100 years or more! A disaster happens and all
of a sudden all this trash becomes shuttle "debris". If that same piece of
trash was found the day before the disaster it would have been put in a
garbage can or left for the next guy to do it! I personally am not going to
believe that every piece of trash someone finds is real shuttle debris
unless NASA says it is! Remember someone in AZ turned in a burnt piece of

Thanks, Tom
The proudest member of the IMCA 6168

----- Original Message -----
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>
To: Meteorite Mailing List <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2003 11:20 AM
Subject: [meteorite-list] Re: Debris Found In Joshua Tree May Be From

> I wrote:
> >> OK, let's assume then that the debris took a slight deviation
> >> from the shuttle's flight path towards the south when it separated
> >> from the shuttle. Could that be enough to account for the
> >> additional distance to Joshua Tree?
> Rob responds:
> >The altitude was about 61 km over north central Texas, so it
> >was still pretty high. A 230-mile cross-track spread in debris
> >might seem like a lot, but given that the main break-up was
> >beginning at least 600 miles to the west-northwest (and initial
> >pieces were separating at least 1500 miles to the WNW), a
> >downstream spread of +/- 115 miles represents a dispersion
> >of +/- 11 degrees for the main breakup,
> I concur, I calculate a dispersion angle of +/- 10.8 degrees.
> >By contrast, the necessary angular diversion
> >for a fragment breaking off at 8:53am EST (while Columbia was
> >just off the coast of California) is over 30 (!) degrees to
> >Joshua Tree, CA.
> True. Let's assume then that the debris separated over the Pacific.
> I calculate with a 11 degree dispersion angle, the separation would
> have to occur about 1,400 miles to the west of Joshua Tree.
> >What this means is that the only way to get debris to Joshua
> >Tree is if it separates from Columbia well before it reaches
> >the California coastline -- at least two or three minutes
> >earlier (8:51, 8:50). But this is a problem, because the
> >further you go back in time, the higher the Shuttle is, and
> >the thinner the atmosphere. So the possible deviation from
> >a purely ballistic trajectory is lower.
> Duly noted. OK, so was the shuttle doing anything of significance
> around this time? It turns out it was! The shuttle had just
> performed its first S-bank maneuver:
> - 8:49 am: Columbia begins a series of gentle side-to-side turns designed
> to lower its speed. The first of these is to the right.
> Note the bank was to the right. If any debris were to fall
> off during the bank turn, it would tend to be thrown off in a
> southwards direction from the flight path. And Joshua Tree is
> south of the shuttle's flight path. I really don't think
> Joshua Tree can be ruled out for possible shuttle debris.
> Since we now know the shuttle's left wing was damaged with a
> jagged edge, I think there good possibility that the metallic
> object found in Joshua Tree is a piece of the left wing.
> Any comments?
> Ron Baalke
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Received on Fri 07 Feb 2003 01:52:28 PM PST

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