Photo: NASA Hatches Plan to Save Shuttles From Vultures



The body of a stray vulture (upper left) falls away from Discovery after the bird struck the space shuttle's external fuel tank during a July 2005 launch.

The hapless bird didn't hit any fragile parts of the shuttle. But the impact got NASA scientists thinking about ways to avoid future midair collisions. A small piece of foam debris hitting the shuttle Columbia during liftoff in 2003 was enough to doom the ship and its crew during reentry.

Photograph courtesy NASA


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