A large section of the damaged space shuttle Challenger has been found buried in the sand at the bottom of the Atlantic, more than three decades after the tragedy that killed a teacher and six others. CBC.ca he says:
NASA's Kennedy Space Center announced the discovery on Thursday.
"Of course, feelings come back, right?" said Michael Ciannilli, the NASA administrator who confirmed the remains' authenticity. When he saw the underwater video, "My heart skipped a beat, I went back to 1986 ... and what we all went through as a nation." It is one of the largest pieces of the Challenger found decades after the accident, according to Ciannilli, and the first remnant discovered since two pieces of the left wing washed ashore in 1996.
Divers for a History Channel television documentary first spotted the piece in March while searching for World War II plane wreckage. NASA verified a few months ago that the piece was part of the space shuttle that disintegrated shortly after liftoff on January 28, 1986. All seven aboard were killed, including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe.
The underwater video provided "pretty clear and convincing evidence," Ciannilli said. The piece of space shuttle found is larger than 4,5x4,5 meters because part of it is covered with sand. Because there are square thermal tiles on the piece, it is believed to be from the underside of the shuttle, according to Ciannilli.
The piece remains on the ocean floor just off the coast of Florida near Cape Canaveral as NASA determines the next step. It remains the property of the US government. The families of all seven Challenger crew members have been notified. "We want to make sure that whatever we do, we do the right thing for the legacy of the crew," Ciannilli said.