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Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the new-perspective-on-an-old-tragedy dept.

NASA 266

longacre writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."

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266 comments

I'm sure NASA would have been dying to get it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30996868)

if they'd known about it.

Sorry.

Re:I'm sure NASA would have been dying to get it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998594)

Dang. If it weren't a summary of the summary, you could have gotten a +3 or +5, Funny.

I loved your subject line, but the first post just ruined it. Sorry.

Also, that's gotta be the first time I've ever commented on the quality of a first post. Good job.

Speculation... (2, Interesting)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30996874)

Why would someone keep this private and/or secret for so long?

Re:Speculation... (4, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997094)

Why would someone keep this private and/or secret for so long?

The launch and subsequent explosion were broadcast live on TV. I think if I'd shot it, I might have assumed that it was entirely redundant.

Re:Speculation... (2, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997442)

yea why would you want to post something again when it has been already covered previously by others?

Mod me redundant please otherwise the joke doesn't work.

Re:Speculation... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997878)

Now mod him underrated, so we can get the first +5 Redundant.

Re:Speculation... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998268)

First +5 Redundant? You must be new here, the entire premise of /. is based on that score.

Also I have seen those types of scores here many times over. +5 Troll? Please, how about -1 Insightful.

Re:Speculation... (3, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998520)

+5 Troll?

Once a troll reaches +4, you need both fire *and* acid to kill it. Either that or magical fire / magical acid. If I remember correctly, +5 trolls regenerate all of their hp every round -- only a sadistic DM would throw that at his party.

please mod redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998024)

This isn't speculation - it's an argument.

Re:Speculation... (5, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997138)

Why would someone keep this private and/or secret for so long?

Probably saw it on TV the next day and figured it nothing special. This was before the internet, and judging by the age of the guy, he probably never accessed much media beyond his neighbors and the local paper.

I don't remember NASA ever asking for other videos, and from the footage, it seemed that they had much higher quality stuff to analyze.

Then we get into the idea that this was a betamax camera, it is also possible that it sat in his things for years, and when his younger grandson or nephew realized what was on the tape, persuaded his granddad (great granddad?) to post it up to the internet/NASA.

Lots of valid reasons why this never saw the light of day until now, and I'm most comfortable with the idea that he never thought about it or thought he had anything special. He probably thought there were thousands of such videos from other amateurs in Florida.

Re:Speculation... (4, Interesting)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998572)

I worked with an Indian guy that had to give the eulogy when his father passed away.

He talked about his father's life, and his father's position on Ghandi's staff when he was a younger man.

After the funeral the guy's kids asked him why he never told them Grandpa worked with Ghandi, when they still could have asked their Grandpa questions about it.

It just never came up.

Re:Speculation... (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997222)

Because it was his memory. It may have his comments on it while he watched. I was watching when it happened and my father found parts on the beach which we did turn in. Over all we just didn't talk about it much. It is kind of hard when you realize that you just saw seven people die in front of your eyes. It is some how different than when you see it on the news. Also that cloud just hung over us the entire day. It felt like it would never go away.
Actually even trying to post about that day is hard. So I can see putting it on a shelf and not taking it down until I knew I was going to die.

Re:Speculation... (5, Interesting)

christurkel (520220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997452)

My father covered the launch for AP and he never said a word about it after he wrote the article about it.

Re:Speculation... (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997580)

Challenger was the first shuttle launch I didn't watch, having moved back to Illinois. I'd gone outside for all of the previous shuttle launches, and we even drove to the cape to see a few. That thing is LOUD!

I was out looking for work when it happened, but it was traumatic for anyone, even just seeing it rebroadcast on TV (over and over) when I got home,so your point is well taken.

Re:Speculation... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998022)

It is kind of hard when you realize that you just saw seven people die in front of your eyes.

You didn't see them die. They survived the explosion, and were killed by impact with the water. The proof is that they initiated emergency procedures after the explosion.

Come to think of it, I don't suppose that makes you feel any better.

Re:Speculation... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998068)

Yup, I saw it live from the west coast. Still remember exactly where I was standing. A very sad day.

Re:Speculation... (3, Interesting)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998282)

Still remember exactly where I was standing.

I do, too. I was sitting in my high school history class, and the teacher rolled in a TV so we could watch the broadcast. Come to think of it, this was probably one of the most important lessons I learned in school: our technology is impressive, but not infallible.

Re:Speculation... (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998124)

It is kind of hard when you realize that you just saw seven people die in front of your eyes.

I would also like to point out that some people have more reverence for the dead than others. And that this individual could have decided out of respect of the families of those deceased to withhold the tape from the replay replay replay replay that major news networks would undoubtedly subject it to. Following the initial interest and showing of the footage, a release would simply be played again on the news, reminding those with lost loved ones and the nation of its failure.

Some people don't believe in making a spectacle of something like another individual's passing. It's entirely possible that this amateur film maker felt that way.

I can relate to it with a recent example. I was sitting in an airport over the holidays and a family was on TV grieving for their mother who was just killed in Haiti by a collapsed building. They chose to appear on that news network and they chose to open up all their emotions for the world to see. I was glad that the destruction and pain was effectively transmitted to me so I could understand their plight. I was not, however, glad to see the commercials for Jergan's Body Wash, the Latest Honda, Trojan Condoms, etc immediately following a young girl begging to have her mother's corpse returned to her.

I was only four when the Challenger disaster happened. But I can relate to that kind of pain through disasters of my time and respect this man's wishes to withhold this footage even despite the benefit it might have provided NASA or expedited the investigation.

Re:Speculation... (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997718)

Because a lot of people don't go through their crap until they know they're about to die soon.

Re:Speculation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997932)

Given that we know a communications disruption could only mean one thing (invasion), I conclude that someone holding on to their own video tape for so long instead of putting it on youtube immediately in 1986, can only mean one thing: a conspiracy to hide The Truth from the American people.

Re:Speculation... (2, Insightful)

wrfelts (950027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997980)

The Challenger disaster was a personal tragedy for many of us. The shuttles represented the resurgence of hope that we were experiencing after 2 decades of societal insanity (60s and 70s). If you're too young to remember or not from the US, the whole nation mourned for quite a while. Having a video that you took of the incident would be akin to keeping a memento of a loved one that you just lost, a personal reminder of what was lost.

Re:Speculation... (3, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998366)

Why would someone keep this private and/or secret for so long?

Conspiracy theorists obsess over things more the longer they were 'kept hidden'. Being handed over by a dying man? Well, that's even better. He's got nothing to lose anymore, so OBVIOUSLY releasing it before now would have brought the rage of the Illuminati down on him!

So my theory is that it's a conspiracy against conspiracy theorists.

Re:Speculation... (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998656)

So my theory is that it's a conspiracy against conspiracy theorists.

As outlined in "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"

Florida retarded (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30996888)

That Florida resident sounded completely retarded.
Also he picked Betamax.

Re:Florida retarded (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997364)

Florida isn't retarded... Alachua County, maybe.

Re:Florida retarded (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997834)

Florida isn't retarded... Alachua County, maybe.

No, Florida is retarded. We voted for Bush twice and Obama once.

Re:Florida retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998170)

+5 fuck yes.

Houston... (3, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30996912)

Houston, they've got trouble of some kind...

Yessir (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30996996)

That's trouble of some kind, George.

Re:Houston... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997004)

Houston, they've got trouble of some kind...

Houston, you've been slashdotted.

70 miles away on Betamax? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30996914)

I find it very hard to believe that a 25-year-old degraded video shot from 70 miles away on a consumer Betamax camcorder would be of any use to NASA in their actual analysis of the accident. There were probably a lot of people taping it or taking pictures that never bothered to turn them over to NASA, just because it never occurred to them that their crappy video would be of any real help in understanding what happened.

Re:70 miles away on Betamax? (4, Insightful)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997024)

It's not that it would be useful for analysis, but it's useful as documentation of an historical event.

70 miles away on Betamax ... might still be useful (5, Insightful)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997744)

Even distant observations might still be useful if it was shot at a different angle than other observations of the event, and as it's in the sky, and you're 70 miles away, it's a different angle.

The problem with video is that it's not as useful for judging the speed of things coming towards you, or away from you, unless it's of a fixed size, it's not tumbling, and you have sufficient resolution. If this had a different plane of the sky as the other 'official' footage, it could be used to test any 3d models that might've been made of the disaster, and if it disproves them, provide input for a new model to be made.

Disclaimer -- I work at a NASA center as a contractor, but I have absolutely nothing to do with the shuttle program.

Re:70 miles away on Betamax? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998078)

Some very crappy images from a surveillance camera were quite useful when the crash of AA 587 was investigated. If you don't have the material, you don't know how much can be extracted by enhancing it and then combining it with sources - one tape might allow investigators to identify what pieces some grainy dots actually are on the tape that shows the timing when they fall off.

Re:70 miles away on Betamax? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998274)

Well I'm sure there're dozens of home videos of the WTC collapsing that nobody's ever seen, and the owners never thought of making public because there is so damned much out there already.

In 20 or 30 years, some grandson will find one, show it, and people will wonder why didn't they make this public at the time, golly!

Re:70 miles away on Betamax? No shit, Sherlock. (2, Informative)

thomst (1640045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998262)

Seventy miles is not that great a distance for viewing space launches. I remember watching from Satellite Beach (about 40 miles from Cape Kennedy) as Apollo 11 lifted off for the Moon. We could easily see the Saturn booster, and the roar of the engines was LOUD, even that far away. My mother took Super 8 footage of the launch, and, even with the very modest zoom factor, the rocket and payload capsule are quite clearly visible for the first 40 seconds or so.

Mirror (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30996948)

Re:Mirror (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998050)

Here's a higher quality version:

http://vimeo.com/2619976 [vimeo.com]

Why do NASA engineers drink Coke? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30996978)

Because they can't get 7 up.

Re:Why do NASA engineers drink Coke? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997116)

How many astronauts can fit in a car? 12: 2 in the front seat 3 in the back seat and 7 in the glovebox.

mod dowN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997002)

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Re:mod dowN (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997854)

Does anyone know why people post things like this? Is there steganography involved here?

'nobody knows why ,...' (1)

radioteeth (1551375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997010)

If I were lucky enough to film anything amazing, I wouldn't share it with any big entities either.. It's MINE !

memories... (4, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997022)

they herded us into the library of my elementary school to watch the launch. I must have been in 3rd grade or so.

The teachers hurriedly ushered us back into class when the "space ship" was "done". Most of us came away thinking a shuttle launch was supposed to look like that.

Re:memories... (1)

brainstem (519778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997234)

I had the same experience... they herded all of us into the gym (2nd grade) to watch it live because of McAuliffe.... I don't remember exactly why, but our class was late for some reason and by the time we got there, it had already blown up. I had no idea what was going on at the time.

Re:memories... (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997524)

I wasn't even born yet - but I had heard of Challenger and the failure, though I had never seen anything like it. It still strikes me as shocking even though I know whats going to happen. I feel the same sadness now as many must have felt over 20 years ago.

Part of me feels like I've just missed one of the greatest eras of mankind. Space Exploration, Cold war ending, Berlin wall coming down and all that. There was a time when Astronauts were hailed as heros, now our generation views them as simple scientists in the ISS. They're lucky if their launches or arrivals get 15 minutes of airtime. Seems like nothing happens unless there is a disaster. I know this is not true, as there are people still doing missions in space (Hubbles maintenance is the first one that comes to mind). It just saddens me that it is no longer "Big News" sending people into space, only when its a disaster. RIP Challenger Crew. May it not only serve as an example of the dangers involved, but also as a reminder of the men and women who brave those dangers for the pursuit of knowledge.

Re:memories... (1)

neurovish (315867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997880)

I wasn't even born yet - but I had heard of Challenger and the failure, though I had never seen anything like it. It still strikes me as shocking even though I know whats going to happen. I feel the same sadness now as many must have felt over 20 years ago.

Part of me feels like I've just missed one of the greatest eras of mankind. Space Exploration, Cold war ending, Berlin wall coming down and all that. There was a time when Astronauts were hailed as heros, now our generation views them as simple scientists in the ISS. They're lucky if their launches or arrivals get 15 minutes of airtime. Seems like nothing happens unless there is a disaster. I know this is not true, as there are people still doing missions in space (Hubbles maintenance is the first one that comes to mind). It just saddens me that it is no longer "Big News" sending people into space, only when its a disaster. RIP Challenger Crew. May it not only serve as an example of the dangers involved, but also as a reminder of the men and women who brave those dangers for the pursuit of knowledge.

That's actually one of the contributing factors to the Challenger explosion. By then, the shuttle launches had become routine, and not seen as quite as big a deal as a few years previous. This led to less scrutiny of the launch conditions and managers in control who saw "successful day's work" == "shuttle going into the air" instead of "shuttle not exploding".

Re:memories... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998242)

"There was a time when Astronauts were hailed as heros[sic]"

First of all, fuck you.

Second, even a cursory understanding of the space program sees astronauts as bit players in a highly automated, extremely complex, feat of engineering. They are highly glorified passengers.

How many of the Grumman or NAA engineers were paraded down the streets of American cities and hailed as heroes for sacrificing their sanity and marriages for the good of the country? Oh, none? Then fuck you.

Enjoy jerking off to photos of Neil Armstrong while the true heroes of space exploration die alone, unrecognized for their brilliance.

Re:memories... (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998756)

First of all, I shouldn't feed the trolls, but I am having a slow day at work.

Second of all, I understand that astronauts are not the only piece of the puzzle, in fact, we have many complex missions in space that involve no astronauts at all. Don't make the assumption that I don't.

Thirdly, I never said anything about this being "For the Country". I am not even American, so to take pride in American Astronauts wouldn't make any sense. When I talk about their contributions I mean to mankind as a whole, as a species.

Engineers and Scientists may work long hours, do harder work, and be rarer than astronauts. None of that changes the fact that they aren't the ones who die when things go wrong.

I think those people who sacrafice their relationships for this are of the opinion that a parade in their honour would be pointless. They'd rather people acknowledge their contributions and support the pursuit of science.

Re:memories... (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998368)

I hate to say this, but even then, generally astronauts were not viewed as heroes in the mid 80's. The Challenger flight was special though, as there was going to be a school teacher in space for the first time, broadcasting to classrooms live. It was an exciting time. That made the tragedy that much worse. I can understand wanting to have been alive at the time, but I feel the same way about my own circumstances. I was born after all of the Apollo landings. Then I think (at least for Apollo 11) the astronauts were truly considered heroes. Going from the moon to just a shuttle is a big let down in what astronauts do, as well.

Re:memories... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998502)

Bullshit on Challenger being "special" due to a frigging NEA-member being on board. And remember THAT is why she was onboard - to help buy the NEA's endorsement of Reagan at election time!

Re:memories... (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998530)

Part of me feels like I've just missed one of the greatest eras of mankind.

I thought that too when I was twenty and had just lived through the 70's.
 

There was a time when Astronauts were hailed as heros, now our generation views them as simple scientists in the ISS. They're lucky if their launches or arrivals get 15 minutes of airtime.

It just saddens me that it is no longer "Big News" sending people into space

Are you sad when an oceanographic research vessel sets off on an expedition without even rating a mention on the local news? When a geological field team pitches it's tents and there isn't breathless 24/coverage on CNN? When a biologist checks into a local hotel before heading out into the woods, and the desk clerk just yawns and goes back to his book?
 
It's kind of like exploring the interior of the US. Lewis and Clark got all the glory for crossing it the first time - but it wasn't until decades later that surveyors, cartographers, geologists, and biologists fanned out across the country. (The latter two categories are *still* out there exploring.) But they didn't make the history books and don't make the news, they're lucky if they get passing mention on a Discovery Channel special. Nobody will ever raise a statue to them, celebrate the 200th anniversary of their work, or stage a re enactment of their work. Only exploration geeks like myself know the names of some the most famous among them. But they're the ones that got the real work done.
 
A great deal of the problems with out space program stem from the fact that for so long it's been heavily publicized and politicized, misleading people into believing that if it isn't worthy of news coverage then it isn't worthy of being done. It's past time we washed out hands of these romantic and sterile 'great leaps' and got on with hard, dirty, day in and day out work of engineering and exploration. It's going to be expensive, and slow*, and dangerous - and not at all romantic or glamorous, but we won't make progress until we do.

*Far more expensive and far slower than the 'great leap' showpieces. Which is the main reason we don't do it.

Re:memories... (1)

dryueh (531302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997762)

Same circumstances for me -- except I came away from the launch feeling completely terrified. In addition to the excitement that still welled up around shuttle launches back then, it was especially potent because there was a teacher on board. It's definitely one of those I-remember-exactly-where-I-was-when-it-happened moments.

Re:memories... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998522)

"it was especially potent because there was a teacher on board"

WOW, a TEACHER!!

Would you have experienced the same excitement had it been a plumber, or a mid-level manager of a soap company? What the fuck does the person's job have to do with anything?

Oh, and it's almost a statistical certainty that another teacher got killed that day by heart attack, auto accident, or some other non-shuttle cause. Do you happen to know their name(s) off the top of your head? No? Then go fuck yourself.

Re:memories... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998144)

I'm old: I was at home sick from high school on the couch and had fallen asleep during the actual launch. I woke up and the tv announcers were all slightly out of sorts and it was a few minutes before I saw a replay tape. Coincidentally, I was also home sick when Reagan was shot. I was only home sick twice; both on banner days.

I'm old as well (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998636)

I was a senior in high school when it happened. I was the first person in my high school to know.

Because I snuck out of shop class and went next door to the laundromat to play Pac Man. I was bored and I wanted a Coke and a game. And a TV was on. I remember thinking "Oh cool - a shuttle launch. That'll be fun to watch, should kill some time".

I went back to school, told my shop teacher what I saw. And oddly enough didn't get in any trouble over it.

I too always wind up in prime spots to watch disasters. I was writing software for a consumer IrDA controller (think universal remote) when 9/11 happened. I was the only person in the building with a TV, which I had for test purposes. We rigged it up with a coathanger and watched local broadcasts. I had to sit there and watch the whole ugly thing, all damn day long. Talk about lousy luck. I'm the only guy in the building with a TV on that day.

"They got troubles" (1)

syntap (242090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997036)

A sad understatement in retrospect, RIP Challengers.

Public domain? (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997070)

How could they? They violated his copyright and took away any incentive for the man to make another movie.

Re:Public domain? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997178)

Well, I would think death would have taken away that incentive, myself, but then again with current copyright laws maybe not.

Re:Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997418)

Death, or the rumored suspended animation) Didn't stop (Walt) Disney from making movies, but if the mouse was out of copyright by now he probably would have stopped.

RTFS (1)

Procasinator (1173621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997190)

How could they? They violated his copyright and took away any incentive for the man to make another movie.

I would think the man being dead and all would have damped his enthusiasm anyway.

Re:RTFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997352)

**woosh**

Re:RTFS (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997624)

***whoosh*** !

Re:RTFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997574)

I would think the man being dead and all would have damped his enthusiasm anyway.

How so? Everyone else gets Life+70 years [wikipedia.org] ...
And the only reason for copyright is to promote the creation of additional creative works... so the only logical conclusion is that the dead can still contribute to our culture.

The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978 was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

Re:RTFS (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998070)

Uh yeah, or that the living might want to sell the rights to their works and not have a corporation say, "look you're 70, so we'll give you $300 for it, but we're pretty comfortable just waiting for you to die."

70 years after death might be excessive, but in order for the selling price of a work to be related to the value of the work, copy rights need to be somewhat protected from the author's death. I'd suggest a fixed term that is smaller than 21 years. One generation is more than enough of a monopoly on cultural items.

Re:Public domain? (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997240)

Are you sure it isn't trademark? Where is KDawson when you need him?

Re:Public domain? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997826)

Not to ruin the joke, but you can sign away your copyrights to your works anytime you want. Just ask any artist under a RIAA label. He just would have to sign his copyright over to The Space Exploration Archive. They, in turn, would release it to the public domain.

Now we know... (5, Insightful)

nohumor (1735852) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997172)

... that betamax did not just have great audio and video, *it can survive years in the attic* without losing much of the quality.

Elementary School in the 80s (2, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997248)

It was weird that there were so many tasteless Challenger jokes. Anyone know if this was common all over the country or was it only my neck of the woods?

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997342)

It's a basic fact of life that some people cope with disturbing things by making jokes about them.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997358)

They were common in South Dakota.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997458)

Need
Another
Seven
Astronauts

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

phragle (83450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997550)

yeah we even had that one in the UK at the time.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1, Troll)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997546)

Like:

NASA - Need Another Seven Astronauts?

or

What's this button do?

I don't remember any others.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (2, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997866)

What color were McAuliffe's eyes?

Blue. One blew this way, the other blew that way.

Where do astronauts spend their vacation?

All over Florida.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997936)

Did you know that Christa McAuliffe had dandruff?

They found her Head and Shoulders washed up on the beach....

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (2, Funny)

thomst (1640045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998314)

What was the last thing Crista McAuliffe said to her husband?

Honey, you feed the dogs - and I'll feed the fish.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

jcrousedotcom (999175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997886)

Ohhh, I remember one that one now... (Need Another Seven Astronauts)... Ya, I think they were fairly common all over.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997938)

Last transmission: "No... a Bud Light!"

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

kybur (1002682) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998182)

I always thought the Need Another Seven Astronauts joke was pretty dumb. Airplanes don't need to sleep, so you always have multiple crews per aircraft. Commercial airlines usually have 4 to 7 complete crews per airplane. If you lose any aircraft, you don't need more crew, because you instantly have a surplus.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997814)

How did the know what kind of shampoo Christa McAuliffe used? Her head and shoulders washed up on the beach.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997992)

Tasteless jokes, on any topic, are normal almost everywhere. If you ever find a region where tasteless jokes aren't normal, that place isn't normal.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998140)

We had 'em, too. I was in 7th grade at the time, and they were irresistible.

Know why NASA drinks Sprite? They couldn't get 7 up.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998214)

Did you know Christie McAuliffe had dandruff? All they were able to find were her head and shoulders.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998320)

Just who did those jokes harm?

Its one thing to make a joke in front of the families of those lost in the accident, but to make jokes around people with no direct connection really doesn't do any harm.

To answer your question though, they were common in the schools all through central Florida.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (2, Funny)

earthloop (449575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998346)

One of the ones in the UK:
"Go on then, let her have a go."

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30998404)

How did they know Christa McAuliffe had dandruff? They found her head and shoulders.

Re:Elementary School in the 80s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998630)

Last Transmission: What does this button do? q:How many astronauts can you get in a VW Bug? a:4 in the seats, 7 in the ashtray

Video here... (4, Informative)

crt (44106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997476)

On the original article:
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100129/NEWS02/1290397/ [courier-journal.com]

Re:Video here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997778)

On an unrelated note, how many f'ing ad sites does the courier-journal really need to link to? I've added 10 to the temporary list in noscript and it's STILL not showing the video on the side.

Re:Video here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30997916)

he's from Corydon; most of my family is originally from the Santa Claus/Ferdinand area. I saw this on Digg either yesterday or the day before but it said Late Optometrist from Corydon captures Challenger explosion, so I was trying to figure out how he could see a Shuttle launch 1000 miles away.

25 year old Betamax tape still readable (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997782)

can't say the same thing for your DVD/BluRay+-R discs in 25 years

Re:25 year old Betamax tape still readable (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30997918)

can't say the same thing for your DVD/BluRay+-R discs in 25 years

I would put more faith in optical media outlasting magnetic media like betamax.

Re:25 year old Betamax tape still readable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998060)

Actually, yeah, we can,

I can't wait to get the Pentagon one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998162)

Can't wait to get the next one: "dying man releases in public domain previously unseen footage of the plane crashing into the Pentagon".

Nobody understood me when it happened. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30998494)

I was at work, and I was the first one to make a comment.
Still in a stunned state I said, "Oh no, not again... We're really screwed now..."

My coworkers couldn't understand that statement, but then, they were neither very smart, nor were they well informed about NASA history.
On the other hand, I've been trying to keep up with the space program since I was a toddler, the oldest memory I can recall is the the first moon landing.
I was aware of the other disasters, even the ones from before I was born.
Additionally, I had an understanding of the repercussions of the event.
Short version, yep, we were seriously screwed by that.

Something a lot of people don't understand.
    We go there because we haven't been there.
    We do it because it hasn't been done before.
    We don't know what new things we will learn.
    We are enriched by exploration in ways we can not predict.
    If we cease to explore an important part of us curls up and dies
    We have been greatly enriched by such exploration in ways we can barely comprehend
    Why do the ignorant or unthinking want to deny such wonders and enrichment to our children and grandchildren

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