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1 March 2005 Surviving Atmospheric Spacecraft Breakup
Nathaniel J. Szewczyk, William McLamb
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Abstract

Spacecraft travel higher and faster than aircraft, making breakup potentially less survivable. As with aircraft breakup, the dissipation of lethal forces via spacecraft breakup around an organism is likely to greatly increase the odds of survival. By employing a knowledge of space and aviation physiology, comparative physiology, and search-and-rescue techniques, we were able to correctly predict and execute the recovery of live animals following the breakup of the space shuttle Columbia. In this study, we make what is, to our knowledge, the first report of an animal, Caenorhabditis elegans, surviving the atmospheric breakup of the spacecraft that was supporting it and discuss both the lethal events these animals had to escape and the implications for search and rescue following spacecraft breakup.

Nathaniel J. Szewczyk and William McLamb "Surviving Atmospheric Spacecraft Breakup," Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 16(1), 27-32, (1 March 2005). https://doi.org/10.1580/PR21-03.1
Published: 1 March 2005
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KEYWORDS
astronauts
Caenorhabditis elegans
disasters
life-support systems
rescue work
space flight
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