A Missed Opportunity to Rescue

Sat., Jan 31: As the shuttle Columbia returned to Earth, that same left wing started exhibiting sensor failures and other problems 23 minutes before Columbia was scheduled to touch down.

  • At 0853, the first indications of problems begin to emerge. There is a loss of temperature sensors in hydraulics systems in the trailing edge of the left wing.
  • At 0856, sensors in the left main gear tyre-wheel well report a temperature increase.
  • At 0858, three temperature sensors on the left side of the vehicle stop working. At this stage, Columbia is at an altitude of nearly 40 miles; its speed is in excess of Mach 18 (18 times the speed of sound – 13,200 mph). It is still 1,400 miles from the Kennedy runway. Columbia is in a left-bank, with its wings angled about 57 degrees to the horizontal.
  • At 0859, sensors monitoring tyre temperatures and pressures report no data. Mission control contacts the shuttle: “Columbia, Houston. We see your tyre-pressure messages. We did not copy your last.”

With just 16 minutes to go before landing, the shuttle disintegrates over Texas.

Timothy Wilken

It appears that NASA missed the opportunity to rescue the Astronauts. In retrospect, the left wing was obviously damaged at liftoff on Jan 16. If NASA had even acknowledged the possibility that the wing was damaged, things could have gone differently.

NASA could have lifted a second shuttle into orbit, rendezvoused with the Columbia, and transferred the astronauts to the rescue shuttle and brought them home safely.

But, NASA was sure the left wing was not damaged. What was the basis for this surety? They had not even examined the wing. In their surety, they further neglected to order an emergency space walk by the astronauts to  inspect the possibly damaged wing.


Human intelligence science has revealed that our enormous intelligence is the result of possessing dual minds. These dual minds create pictures of a dual world in which we live. Most of us don’t know we have dual minds and almost all of us don’t know we live in a dual world. We live in two worlds all of the time.

Let us begin by examining the world created by the space-mind. It creates a picture of reality. Space-mind is in charge of survival. So it needs to know what the world is really like. Boy if you are in your space-mind, you better live in the real world. Right? Ever play dodge ball? When I was a kid, dodge ball was a big game. I don’t know whether they even play it any more. You go into the gym and line up against the wall and somebody throws a volleyball at you at high speed. Right? You dodge it Right? You better know where the ball really is or you are going to get hit. Ever play snow ball fights? Same thing right? You better know where those snowballs really are or you’re going to get hit. The space-mind has to know where things are in space. Where they really are. When I’m teaching this lesson to a group of students I’ll suddenly toss a pencil to someone sitting in the first row, and it’s amazing, they almost always catch it. One hand will fly up and catch the unexpected object. Their space-mind reflex puts their hand up. The space-mind has to know what’s real and what’s really going on or you don’t survive. If there is a tiger in this room I had better know it’s here. So the space mind makes a picture of reality from its sense images and feelings. That’s picture of reality is what I call the world of “is”.

The world of “is” is the way things really are. And, at its very best this picture of reality approaches the “real” world. Now we don’t have a perfect picture of the universe the way it really is. But our space-mind is pretty good. It keeps me from running into the walls and safe in high speed motor traffic. My student in the front row demonstrated his ability to catch the pencil perfectly when it came flying through the air unexpectedly.

Now we humans also have a time-mind which is into becoming, it’s interested in cause and effect, it is always predicting the future based on its understanding of the past. So the time-mind forms an opinion of reality from words and thoughts. This opinion of reality is what I call the world of “ought to be”.

Every human has two worlds created by their two minds. Everyone of us has a world of “is” and a world of “ought to be”. I’ve got mother “is” and mother “ought to be”. Teacher “is” and teacher “ought to be”. Son “is” and son “ought to be”. Dad “is” and dad “ought to be”. Husband “is” and husband”ought to be”.

By the way, our husband “is”and wife “is” are always comes up short. Aren’t they? They are never the way they ought to be. Also, our son “is” and daughter “is” are also coming up short. They are also never the way they ought to be.

Why are they coming up short? Why are they never the way they ought to be?

Our time-mind uses all of its cause and effect knowledge to predict the way things “ought to be”. And we are always carrying our opinions of how it “ought to be” with us at all times. Seven o’clock in the evening, and I run out of milk. So I get in my car and go down to Seven-Eleven only to discover they’re closed. “Damn it! That’s not the way it ought to be!” My space-mind shows me a picture of a closed store  —  the world the way it is. My time-mind tells me in words,”That’s not the way it ought to be.”And, so my space-mind prepares my body to fight.

All of us are rejected to some extent because we are never the way our parents think we ought to be. Because you see an ought to be at its very best is an ideal. And so the world of “ought to be” at its very best is also an ideal. Well in the ideal world, the Seven-Eleven Store would be open, right? I’d go in and get my milk. Right? My son, in the world of ought to be, would get straight A’s. Right? That’s an ideal. Ideally my son would get straight A’s. Ideally my husband would remember my  birthday. Ideally the people on the road would be more courteous. Ideally the government would lower our taxes, right? In the world of “ought to be” the government would operate economically, and give the taxpayers a large refund. But in the world of “is” we just keep paying more taxes.

Now knowledge of the dual-world can be of great help to you. Whenever you find yourself angry at the world of “is”, it probably is because you are mistaking your world of “ought to be” for the real world. Imagine, I am reading my newspaper when I come across a story I don’t like. I exclaim: “I can’t believe this! This can’t be happening.” In other words, in my world of “ought to be”, this doesn’t happen.

There are none so blind as those that will not see.

Not believing reality can be very dangerous. The Jewish people during WWII were very much victimized by the world of “ought to be”. The American government played into that tragedy in a very large way. There was a group of Jewish people who suffered even more than those who were gassed in the concentration camp gas chambers. These were extraordinarily brave individuals who risked their lives to smuggle out pictures of the death camps. These photographs eventually reached the American government providing proof of Hitler’s atrocities. The American government said they were fake. Why? In the American government’s world of “ought to be”, atrocities like those shown in the photos just didn’t happen. In their world of ought to be those kinds of things simply don’t happen. The photographs had to have been faked. Sadly, the whole world learned four years later that the photographs were not faked.

In NASA’s world of  “ought to be”, the shuttle was not damaged when the insulation broke off the rocket and struck the left wing.

No one at NASA wanted to have a problem. No one wanted to explain why the insulation came off the rocket. Certainly, no one wanted to declare an emergency. The possibility of damage to the left wing was known on January 16, there were two full weeks before the scheduled return to Earth to take action.

But NASA had “no concerns whatsoever,” no action was taken, the shuttle was ordered to proceed with the landing as planned, and, in the world of “is”, the 2.1 billion dollar space shuttle was lost and seven of humanity’s finest are dead.

Read Timothy Wilken’s Dual World.

Shuttle’s Failures Began With Left Wing

Columbia Loss: What happened and when

Left Wing Separated