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Whoa, Jesse--say what you want, but don't expect to earn any respect.
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By RICHARD AMRHINE
But space flight accidents no longer seem to rise to that level. We've been down this road before with the Challenger disaster. Like every astronaut that came before, the Columbia crew members were adventurers who volunteered to put themselves in harm's way. It is absurd to think that NASA, even with a blank check, could guarantee the safety of astronauts hurtling though space in a man-made contraption at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour.
Experts once placed the odds of space flight disasters at one in several hundred. Turns out to be more like one in 57 so far. We're too new at this to know how dangerous it is. Just because we come to ignore these missions after a while doesn't mean they are routine.
And please, let's not call the lost astronauts "heroes," a term that has been especially abused since the terrorist attacks. These astronauts were incredibly smart and driven people, and we'll never know what more they could have contributed.
But not everyone who dies a tragic death is a hero. That's not how these astronauts would want to be remembered.
RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.