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Remembering the Columbia Disaster

One troubling moral dilemma remains…

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Visitor Comments: 24

(21) Rob Mahaffy, February 10, 2013 4:04 AM

Respectfully Disagree

I respectfully disagree with your disagreement. There's an old saying "If a man is convinced he is going to die, he will find a way for it to happen." As someone who has 21 years of military experience, I can tell you that you never tell someone that theirs is a suicide mission as they will then know the outcome and stop looking for ways to get out alive. This is the same. The ground controller didn't know, but suspected what was going to happen. He didn't know, couldn't know that maybe his information was wrong, maybe there was something that they hadn't thought of that the crew might have. To bring the lesson home, how many cancer patients are told that there is no hope only to get a second opinion, fight and make it through. I don't ever want to be told that I'm in a hopeless situation. I will fight and never give up even if the odds are against me. This is human nature.

(20) TMay, February 9, 2013 10:19 PM

the commander

I agree with the commander. The law gives extra damages to people who knew they were dying than if they didn't. It would have caused panic and anguish. They had already said goodbye to their families knowing they were leaving on a dangerous mission. What I am saying is situational.

(19) Amber, February 8, 2013 5:01 PM

I wouldn't tell them

Everyone goes through the stages of grief & death (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) at different paces. No one on the shuttle would reach acceptance (& peace) within that hour or 2 hours before they died. They would have died while angry, depressed, frightened. I don't think I could do that to a group of people: create their final moments to be one or pure sadness & emotional anguish. The astronauts were happy, excited and content with life when they passed....they thought they were going to reach Earth. I don't think I could bring myself to disrupt those final moments of elation.

(18) miriam, February 7, 2013 8:30 PM

why are we here?

If you are afraid of death and dying and you believe we are only here to enjoy, then you probably dont agree with the Rabbi. However, if you embrace the cycle of life and death and you understand that this world is not for pleasure, but for gaining points for the World To Come, then yes Rabbi- I totally agree with you. (read Mesillas Yisharim)

(17) Asaf, February 7, 2013 8:09 PM

Great question

I am not sure I would want to know if I were the astronauts and not sure I would have told them if I was NASA. It is certainly a moral dilemma. Either way, NASA only had a few moments to make the decision and the astronauts knew the risk. I don't know the answer but I do know, this was a great video and a great question

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