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  Discover Magazine 1986 space shuttle ad

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Author Topic:   Discover Magazine 1986 space shuttle ad
Bowman2001
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From: Iowa
Registered: Jun 2012

posted 06-22-2012 06:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bowman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was on eBay and found someone selling print ads that featured the Space Shuttle. The one that caught my eye was this ad from Discover Magazine from 1986 (at least I believe it to be from 1986).

Unfortunately, the preview pic is too small to read what is written under the picture and I am just curious as to what it says.

Does anyone out there have a larger picture to share? If so, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

garymilgrom
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From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-22-2012 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't believe someone commissioned artwork of the Challenger explosion. That's in very bad taste.

Bowman2001
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From: Iowa
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posted 06-22-2012 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bowman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed. It just came out too soon. Which is why I am most curious to read what is under the art. However, if this particular piece of art came out, say 5-10 years later, would it still be considered in poor taste? If one were to take in account for all of the naval and land war paintings that have adorned history books from both childrens and adult alike, would this not too fit in that category; since there have been artists renditions of terrible acts of war, losses, mother nature for years?

J.L
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From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 06-22-2012 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe this art was part of the article that was in the magazine back in 1986. I came across it fairly recently.

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 06-22-2012 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by garymilgrom:
I can't believe someone commissioned artwork of the Challenger explosion. That's in very bad taste.

Why bad taste? If it serves an educational purpose of what exactly happened, there's nothing wrong with it, no?

micropooz
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Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 06-22-2012 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If this was an advertisement, then yes, definitely in bad taste.

If this was an article on the disaster, then it was within journalistic norms (which can be debateable).

51-L hit a lot of us really hard. Looking at that picture today still makes my nerves raw.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-22-2012 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a subscriber to Discover back then (got the subscription as a gift when in high school). The painting was one of many that was featured in an article about Challenger's breakup and the magazine used them because they didn't really have good photos of the breakup or the angles were not good enough for showing the events that transpired. This as I recall was the second to the last artwork of four (or perhaps five) that were painted. I don't believe I have the issue anymore, but I can tell you as a kid of high school age at the time who was craving to know just what the heck happened that day in January, I dug into that article and read it as much as I could while also drinking in those artworks.

I didn't think it was in bad taste at all. The artwork series only showed the hardware. You didn't see tiny astronauts in the windows and the last frame was the start of the whole breakup before the fireball consumed the stack. From what I can remember, the article did make a couple incorrect assumptions about things (the fireball wasn't concussive for one thing), since it was written so soon after the disaster, yet before NASA released their film analysis (and the paintings tried to do the same thing as the film analysis, a blow by blow account of what happened). But overall it seemed to be a good article for what it was since it did illustrate the aft strut getting torched and the SRB pivoting into the front of the ET.

Discover back then was at least willing to dig a bit more deeply into things. It wasn't a fluff magazine like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics tended to be and it wasn't a news magazine that only touched on the high spots. It tried to get more to the heart of the issue to try and understand things a bit more from a science perspective. But things were starting to backslide a little bit and the focus of the magazine was beginning to shift. So I think the reason why one of the artworks was used in an advertisement was to try and attract readers back to the magazine since subscription sales were starting to drop.

Was it in poor taste? For the time I don't believe so when one considers the context. Most of America was still in shock back then and still trying to digest what was seen. So I believe the artwork hit at just the right time so as not to be too early or too late. We also didn't have the "politically correct" debates we tend to have today. If it had been done say a few years later, than one might think that using it as an advertisement might be in poor taste (it still probably would have been fine in its original use, illustration and education, but ONLY for that)

At the same time as the magazine issue came out, partly because I had the image of the fireball etched in my head with two SRBs corkscrewing out of control with small bits of debris coming out of the bottom, I ended up drawing a pencil sketch of it and had it hung on my wall for a few years as sometimes I would glance at it. I did wonder why I drew it sometimes, but I consider it a form of catharsis, to get my subconscious feelings out in the open rather than keeping them bottled up. And no, I am not displaying it publicly either (although I still have it stored somewhere since it was part of my childhood).

Bowman2001
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From: Iowa
Registered: Jun 2012

posted 06-24-2012 09:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bowman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by J.L:
I believe this art was part of the article that was in the magazine back in 1986. I came across it fairly recently.

Any chance you could tell me what issue it is? Perhaps I can track down a copy through a library or eBay.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-25-2012 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Discover magazine only published 12 times a year as a monthly publication. And I know this wasn't a January or February issue, so that leaves 10 months of possibilities for the rest of 1986. Checking one of those big green periodical guides at the library might net a possible answer.

J.L
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Posts: 388
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 06-25-2012 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bowman2001:
Any chance you could tell me what issue it is? Perhaps I can track down a copy through a library or eBay.
I will check tomorrow and report back.

J.L
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Posts: 388
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 06-26-2012 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is the April, 1986 issue.

Bowman2001
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From: Iowa
Registered: Jun 2012

posted 06-26-2012 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bowman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by J.L:
It is the April, 1986 issue.

Thank you! The hunt begins!

ASCAN1984
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Posts: 1004
From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-27-2012 03:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Absolutely disgusting.

apolloprojeckt
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From: arnhem netherlands
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 06-27-2012 05:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for apolloprojeckt   Click Here to Email apolloprojeckt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have also that picture, and have make a exact model 1/72 of that, but on advise of lot of cS members I stopped and throw it away.

It's for a lot of people still painful this terrible accident, we can better let it rest.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-27-2012 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bowman2001 - I won the auction (I want to see this first hand) and will post the text as soon as the piece arrives. It should only be a few days.

Bowman2001
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From: Iowa
Registered: Jun 2012

posted 06-27-2012 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bowman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sweet! Congratulations! I am also curious as to what the tiny solar or sonar picture is as well. I can't wait!

kyra
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Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 06-28-2012 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This painting represents the view most of the public had and still has about the explosion. In reality, the shuttle was torn about by the aerodynamic stresses of going into the hypersonic airstream at the wrong angle.

I remember this painting from back then in Discover. Macabre it is, but I will say we have different ways of processing death. To this artist it was necessary to freeze the last moment as he understood it in real time.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-03-2012 07:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The text under the painting says:
This month's issue of Discover points out that NASA doesn't assess risks as thoroughly as it might. NASA assumed their shuttle booster rockets would fail less than once in every 500 launches.

But a study done for the Air Force showed that solid-fuel rockets burn through their casings far more frequently than that - perhaps as often as once in 35 shuttle flights. (Strikingly close to what actually happened).

This special report probes the causes, tells how NASA could better assess its risks - even describes how Russians cope with their own space tragedies.

Also in this issue...

Bowman2001
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From: Iowa
Registered: Jun 2012

posted 07-03-2012 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bowman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gary, thank you for posting this! So it wasn't an advertisement after all, just a clipping from the beginning of the magazine. Very interesting. Mystery solved and thank you again for helping out on this.

randy
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From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 07-03-2012 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too think it's in very bad taste.

sev8n
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Posts: 55
From: Dallas TX USA
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 07-21-2012 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Morton Thiokol ad ran in Aviation Week in the issue that was published the week Challenger was lost. The issue was already printed and in distribution at the time of the accident. I kept the ad not because it was in bad taste but because of the overwhelming irony of the timing.

All times are CT (US)

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