Environmentalists strike again

We now know that the destruction of Columbia happened because a piece of thermal foam broke away shortly after take-off, struck the shuttle wing and damaged it. This damaged wing broke off due to heat generated at re-entry.

Hannes Hacker looks at the story behind the thermal foam:

Why did the shuttle’s foam insulation flake off? In response to an edict from the EPA, NASA was required to change the design of the thermal insulating foam on the shuttle’s external tank. They stopped using Freon, or CFC-11, in order to comply with the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an agreement designed to head off doubtful prognostications of an environmental disaster.

But it was the elimination of the old foam that led to a real disaster for the shuttle program. The maiden flight with the new foam, in 1997, resulted in a ten-fold increase to foam-induced tile damage. The new foam was far more dangerous than the old foam. But NASA, a government organization afraid of antagonizing powerful political interests did not reject the EPA's demands and thoroughly reverse their fatal decision. Instead, they sought a compromise, applying for a waiver from the EPA that allowed them to use the old foam on some parts of the external tank.

Once again, the ecofascists have blood on their hands. They claim to hold absolute truth on matters which are far from certain, and scientifically, rest on shoddy grounds at best. Like Michael Crichton recently pointed out, environmentalism has become a modern religion --- it is no longer based in reality, but taken on faith.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.... Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

(The entire essay is no longer on Crichton's site --- I've copied the whole thing here.)

Posted by Vivek at February 1, 2004 7:44 AM