PC Pro are reporting important experimental data has been recovered from a hard drive found amid the wreckage of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
The recently discovered 400MB Seagate drive survived the explosion that destroyed the Shuttle on re-entry, and was sent to data recovery firm, Ontrack. The firm managed to recover results of an experiment into the way xenon gas flows under micro-gravity.
Those results have now been published in the Physical Review E journal, some five years after they were thought lost. Recent cutbacks in NASA spending on basic research mean that experiments such as this are unlikely to be repeated.
“It was a load off my shoulders to finally get it published,” says Robert Berg, lead investigator on the experiment, speaking to Scientific American. “We assumed that it fell out of the cage and burned up and that was it.”
Although much of the data was downloaded while the experiment was in orbit, the full data set had never been seen until the discovery of the drive. The disk was a standard commercial model, but had been reinforced and fitted to the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle.