An audio tape released by NASA shows how professional flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston handled the gut-wrenching final moments of the space shuttle Columbia. NPR's Joe Palca reports.
Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors. Palca is also the founder of NPR Scicommers – A science communication collective.