We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Readers enhance Columbia image

Kudos to Steve “SteKwack” and his friend for passing these enhanced images along to me. In Steve’s words:

“I saw your weblog entry relating to the shuttle damage, and saw a long range photo which I suspect was taken by one of these targetting systems. A buddy cleaned up the picture and vectorised it. The pictures clearly show some form of plasma streaming off the left wing, along with what may be turbulence caused by damage on the front of the same wing.”

Now let’s see what he is talking about. First we have a “solarized image”.

We are seeing the shuttle from below, so the wing at the bottom is the port (left) side where the problems occurred. The double delta wing plan shows up clearly on both sides of the fat and blunt-ish fuselage; the squared off thing at the stern is the body attached elevator which sits directly underneath the SSME’s (Space Shuttle Main Engines). The OMS pods may be the cause of the apparent rounding of the elevator; the tail is either hidden in this view or too thin to show at this resolution.

What leaps out at you is the double bump at the boundary between the two parts of the double delta. Given the level of detail I see elsewhere this is a huge break not only in the leading edge, but in the front wing structure itself.

The more amorphous deformation of the trailing edge is a plasma trail that should not be there and which shows only on the damaged port side.

Next we see a vectorized version of the same image:

The green line faithfully shows the fuselage center line. For control to be possible, the centers of Lift, Thrust, Drag and Mass should lie along this line. The blue vectors show a flow line through the damaged leading edge to the plasma tail coming off the trailing edge.

Finally, they put them all together:

Whether the break at the division between the two delta planforms is entirely structural or a combination of damage and turbulence, it should be apparent to anyone this spaceship is already deep into its’ final death throes. I do, in fact, expect the deep notch is plasma on either side of a structural break in the wing at that point. 2000 degree Fahrenheit plasma is most likely ripping through the wing interior from the tip of the notch. Wires are burning, aluminum frame members are weakening and total structural failure is imminent.

Note: If Steve would like credits added for himself and his friend, I’d appreciate it if he would comment and give me full names to use.

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