There´s a lot of different things that we do during life that could personally harm us and I choose not to stop doing those things.

Laurel Clark (1961 – 2003)

Laurel Blair Salton Clark was a medical doctor, United States Navy Captain, NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle mission specialist who died on February 1, 2003 over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during entry, near the end of its 28th mission, STS-107, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing.

Guitarist Steve Morse wrote the instrumental “Contact Lost” in response to the news of the tragedy, recorded by Deep Purple and featured as the closing track on their 2003 album “Bananas”. It was dedicated to the astronauts whose lives were lost in the disaster. Morse donated songwriting royalties to the families of lost astronauts. Astronaut and mission specialist engineer Kalpana Chawla, one of the victims of the accident, was a fan of Deep Purple and had exchanged e-mails with the band during the flight, making the tragedy even more personal for the group. She took three CDs into space with her, two of which were Deep Purple albums (Machine Head and Purpendicular). Both CDs survived the destruction of the shuttle.

Picture: NASA Media Services

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