February 07, 2003
Sprite Killed Columbia?

This is why I drink Mountain Dew...

Hypothesis suggests Sprites (upper atmospheric electrical charges) may have hit the shuttle, causing damage. [link] See also the cool graphic.

I have no idea if it is even plausable. But it's cool that a fringe area of atmospheric science is getting press. Maybe enough people will link that they can get some more funding, since the article indicates they don't have much.

Found on MeFi

Posted by danisaacs at February 07, 2003 10:31 AM

I stole this from sci.space.shuttle, but the physics seem right.

As pieces broke off the shuttle, they would form their own plasma trails which would have a different electrical potential than the shuttle's. Arcing between the two plasma fields would most likely occur.

What was the weather like in LA that night? If there's no storm, how could the sprites form?

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2003 10:02 PM

Again, I do not have a clue as to how valid the suggestion may be. I thought the idea of Sprites was cool, and that was the thrust of my post, title notwithstanding.

Posted by: Dan Isaacs on February 7, 2003 11:03 PM

Don't get me wrong, sprites are friggin awesome. My dad has personally seen them at least twice while flying.

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2003 11:27 PM
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