Claim: Photograph taken during fatal Columbia mission reveals large cracks in the shuttle’s wing.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2003]
accompanied by a photograph taken from a live video interview conducted with Israeli shuttle astronaut Ilan Ramon
The picture wasn’t a photo of Columbia’s wing, however: it was a photo of the front inside edge of the cargo bay, and the “cracks” were simply ordinary seams. The black protrusion (resembling a stovepipe hat of the sort favored by Abraham Lincoln) visible in the right-center portion of the image is one of many lugs that the cargo bay doors clamp onto when closed to ensure a tight seal. A similar lug can be seen in this panoramic photo of the shuttle’s cargo bay:
This video pan of the cargo bay provides a better view showing the location of the lug and the structure to which it is attached relative to the rest of the shuttle. Still frames from the video have been misinterpreted as showing a large dent in the shuttle’s wing, but the structure is the cargo bay (with the seams mistaken for “cracks” in the original photograph shown clearly), and the “dent” is actually a ripple in the bay’s fabric covering:
Last updated: 20 September 2006