Off the coast of Florida, divers working for a documentary crew discovered a 20-foot portion of the space shuttle Challenger while searching for World War Two airplane debris, according to NASA. Shortly after its 1986 launch, the space shuttle disintegrated. The space agency stated in a written statement that the divers discovered a sizable, contemporary object at the ocean’s bottom that was coated in sand and had the shuttle’s distinctive tiles.
“This discovery gives us an opportunity to pause once again, to uplift the legacies of the seven pioneers we lost, and to reflect on how this tragedy changed us,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in the statement. The divers were on an investigational trip for the History Channel’s “The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters” documentary. They were searching for the remains of a PBM Martin Mariner Rescue Plane in an area of the Atlantic Ocean that has long been connected to mysterious disappearances of ships and airplanes.
On December 5, 1945, it vanished without a trace as divers looked for five US Navy torpedo bombers that had also disappeared that day. As well as “what additional steps it may take respecting the artifact that will properly honor the legacy of Challenger’s dead astronauts and the families who loved them,” NASA is attempting to decide whether it should collect the wreckage. On January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after taking off from the Kennedy Space Center, the Challenger burst into flames. The entire crew, seven people were killed, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher.
Investigations have determined that the catastrophe was caused by weak O-Ring seals on a solid rocket booster, which was made worse by icy conditions. It’s still regarded as one of the most significant mishaps in the US space program’s history.
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