What Went Wrong?

The clues lie in the craft's last minutes and rain of debris. Inside the search for answers

The last song the lost crew of the space shuttle Columbia ever heard was Scotland the Brave by the 51st Highland Brigade. That was the wake-up song beamed up by NASA on the morning the ship was supposed to return to earth. The day before it had been Shalom Lach Eretz Nehederet, for Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. Thursday morning it had been John Lennon's Imagine. Scotland the Brave was for mission specialist Laurel Clark, Scottish by extraction.

"Good morning," Mission Control called up to the ship.

"Good morning, Houston," Clark answered. "We're getting ready for our big day up here ......

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!