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  'No stone unturned' in Nasa investigation
Updated 02 February 2003, 20.26
Children gather to leave flowers outside the Johnson Space Center
Nasa has said they will leave "no stone unturned" in their investigation into the Columbia space shuttle disaster.

The craft fell apart as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts on board.


The US government has also started their own investigation into the disaster, which happened minutes before it was supposed to land after a 16-day mission.

Thousands of bits of the wreckage have been scattered over the state of Texas. Body parts belonging to the crew have also been found.

Nasa officials now have to collect and look closely at all the parts of the wrecked shuttle.

Foam to blame?


No one knows exactly why the accident happened yet. But there are worries about a bit of heat-resistant foam which hit the craft's left wing shortly after take-off.

This is usually nothing to worry about. But Nasa officials think it might have done more damage than they first thought.

The first sign Columbia was in trouble came when sensors on the left wing showed it was heating up rapidly.

Sadness

Fact File
Shuttle disaster facts
Had been due to land at 9.16am (2.16pm British time)
Contact was lost at about 9.00am EST (2.00pm British time)
Shuttle was about 200,000 feet up
Was travelling at 20,000 km/h (12,500 mph)
Broke up 65 kilometres (40 miles) above the Earth

US President George W Bush led his country in mourning, almost exactly 17 years after the space shuttle Challenger exploded a minute after take-off.

And the sadness has been felt all over the world. Among the crew was the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon and Indian-born Kalpana Chawla.

No one knows what will happen to the US space programme now, but for the time being, all shuttle missions have been cancelled.

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Your thoughts on the loss of the shuttle
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