Diary Survived Shuttle Accident, Goes On Display


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Diary Survived Shuttle Accident, Goes On Display

Wired said:
Although only 40 percent of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its contents were recovered, 37 pages of first-time Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon's diary were found mostly intact two months after the 2003 crash.

His was the only diary found. Yesterday, select pages went on display for the first time in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem as part of an exhibit to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the country.

The diary, a cardboard-covered, three-ring bound book, was found wet and crumpled in a field outside the small town of Palestine, Texas. The tracker recognized it from the NASA logo on its cover. NASA returned the diary to Ramon's wife, Rona, who asked Israeli experts to help restore the book.

Using image enhancement technology and infrared light, the scientists were able over four years to piece together much of what was on the 18 recovered pages of handwritten Hebrew. Ramon had written in the book with a NASA space pen, a pencil and a felt tip pen, however all of the felt tip notes washed away. The Sabbath kiddush, the blessing for wine, is still very clearly readable and it a center piece of the display. The prayer had been written into the diary so that Ramon could offer it during his space Sabbath which he read over the radio to Earth. Eight pages are his personal diary from before launch, six pages are of technical notes, and four pages are notes Ramon took during the 16 day mission.

On day six of the mission Ramon wrote:

"Today is maybe the first day that I really feel like I live in space. I turned out to be a man who lives and works in space, just like in the movies."

He also writes:

"We wake up in the morning with a light hovering and in a circular motion (we go) to the 'family room' - brushing my teeth, my face and to work. A little bit of coffee to go,"

"One experiment and then another… a little cleaning and storing. A few days later another experiment, a press conference with the prime minister, and the days of work continue."

"I have a beautiful view of a mighty lightning storm over India, Tibet, Nepal and Japan."

Ilan Ramon, 48, the son of Holocaust survivors, perished along with six other crew members when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry just 16 minutes before they were expected to land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on February 1, 2003. He is survived by his wife, Rona, and their four children.

Rona Ramon agreed to have portions of the diary go on display saying, "This is a small miracle that needs to be shared."

Astronaut's Diary Goes on Display in Jerusalem [AP]
3D art to salvage astronaut's last words on life in space [Jerusalem Post]
Astronauts Ilan Ramon Diary Restored [Israel News Agency]
Israel Museum Documents Exciting 60th Anniversary With Ilan Ramon, Yitzhak Rabin [Israel News Agency]

Photo: Israel News Agency, NASA


(Via Wired)