Monday, December 9, 2013

The Challenger Disaster curiosity [updated]

I found The Challenger Disaster very absorbing.

It also made me quite curious as to whether or how it differs from Feynman's account on which it's largely based. Years ago, I loved both of his memoirs, but for some reason passed over the long section in "What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character about Challenger. (As a space enthusiast, I always thought the shuttle much less interesting than a lot of other things about space.)


Now I'm reading that section. I also was fascinated to learn from the movie's end-note that Sally Ride was a crucial source of information to Feynman, as revealed in 2012, and I hope to find out more about that, though a cursory Google search does not tell much.

UPDATE 12/11/13: I've now read the book's Challenger section except for Feynman's report that appeared as an appendix to the Rogers Commission report; and overall, I find that the liberties taken by the movie were fairly modest as these things go. There were some things changed but it seems to me the spirit of what Feynman wrote was left more or less intact, though William Hurt gives Feynman a dourness that doesn't seem to be correct, even when the man was being very serious as with the Challenger probe. Also, and curiously, I still haven't found much about Gen. Kutyna's revelation that Sally Ride was a crucial source for info about the O-ring's performance (I find statements that he revealed it after her death last year, but I don't find anything where he actually makes the revelation). Perhaps he said or wrote something that's not online? Not everything is on the Internet, which is why I don't agree with the 52% who say they don't need public libraries "as they used to" (though I recognize the ambiguity of that wording). In any case, Sally Ride's reported role makes my high estimation of her even higher.

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