A Star Wars Snafu

The technology may have been flawless, but the people were not. Scientists at a U.S. Air Force ground station on a Maui mountaintop fired a laser beam 220 miles through space at a minute target, an 8-in. mirror attached to a hatch window on the left side of the space shuttle Discovery, which was speeding above the Hawaiian island at 17,500 m.p.h. The intention was to bounce the low-powered ribbon of light off the mirror and send it flashing back to Maui. But as the blue-green laser beam successfully "painted" the spacecraft over the test site, no reflection bounced back. Mission...

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