When NASA People Say Inaccurate Things NASA Doesn't Care

Keith's note: Yesterday I sent the following email to NASA JPL employee Ron Baalke yesterday about two inaccurate tweets he has posted (and retweeted) regarding the Challenger accident. I cc:ed JPL and NASA HQ PAO. The tweets are still out there misinforming people. No one at NASA seems to care that a NASA employee is perpetuating misleading information. Yes, its a "private" Twitter account - one that goes out of its way to identify the owner as a JPL employee. This account is also used for work-related promotion of JPL projects. This account is otherwise a very useful one full of space facts - with these two glaring exceptions. When other people circulate inaccurate information like this about NASA events NASA PAO gets all upset. But when a NASA employee does it, no one cares. Go figure.

"I see that your twitter account just retweeted these tweets. They are factually incorrect on several levels. 1. Space Shuttle Challenger did not "explode". Challenger was torn apart by extreme aerodynamic forces as a result of an explosion in the External Tank. 2. The crew of Space Shuttle Challenger were killed by the breakup of the vehicle and/or the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean at high speed - not by any "explosion". These are matters of established fact. Please correct your tweets."

Keith's additional note: There is some debate as to whether the ET actually "exploded" in a technical sense. A large fireball occurred as the ET lost structural integrity itself - and Challenger was attached to the ET. Jim Oberg wrote an excellent article about what did and did not happen. Read Myth #2.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 1, 2018 3:46 PM.

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