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4:50pm, November 18, 2003

Tragedy travesty

The reporting of the activity surrounding the tragic loss of Columbia continues to anger me ("After the Tragedy," SN: 9/27/03, p. 203: After the Tragedy). Columbia was lost because of program ignorance of a flight condition that should not have been permitted to exist or continue. It is a cruel and self-serving action to criticize a wonderful piece of engineering because its operators have been deficient.

Don Thompson
Garden Grove, Calif.

"The U.S. has lost 17 astronauts in space accidents . . . 17 years apart," according to the article. During that same period, we killed 714,000 people in traffic crashes, yet no scientists have demanded that we ground all automobiles.

Robert N. Rader
Moore Haven, Fla.

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