Columbia Astronaut's Ring Stolen... Apr 9, 2007 12:42:04 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Apr 9, 2007 12:42:04 GMT -6
Searching for an Astronaut's Ring
Columbia Victim's Missing Wedding Ring Puzzles Authorities -- Is NASA Covering It Up?
April 4, 2007 — Astronaut Laurel Clark wore her wedding ring on a chain around her neck while she orbited Earth in the space shuttle Columbia.
Four years later, the whereabouts of that ring, believed to be stolen, have puzzled law enforcement and embarrassed NASA.
Video shot on that Columbia mission shows Clark laughing as she works on experiments on the shuttle's middeck, the ring floating on the chain in zero gravity. It was Clark's first mission, and her last. She died when Columbia broke up over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, leaving behind her husband, Jonathan, and her son, Iain.
The bodies of the seven crew members were recovered, but to protect the grieving families of the crew, little information was released.
Documents reviewed by ABC News as part of an investigation into Robert Cobb, NASA's inspector general, detail an effort to cover up the search for Clark's wedding ring.
The report states, "The remains of deceased astronaut Laurel Clark were recovered shortly after the Columbia accident, and a ring was allegedly present on, and then stolen from her recovered remains."
Texas Rangers were investigating the theft of the ring and wanted to release a public Crime Stoppers Report to the public to find the stolen ring. Jonathan Clark wanted his wife's ring found, according to the report, but in a meeting with Cobb he was told that going public with news of a stolen wedding ring would not be good publicity for NASA.
According to the documents just released, a Texas Ranger involved in the investigation informed the Office of the Inspector General that he believed someone at NASA wanted the investigation shut down because if it got out that the ring was stolen, questions would arise about the conduct of NASA's investigation into the Columbia accident.