USA TODAY: NASA found a weakened wing panel on another shuttle almost a year ago. According to the article NASA said the Shuttle Discovery's safety "was not comprimised" when they found a 2-inch tear in a leading edge surface where four-hundredths of one inch is considered the maximum. This is EXACTLY the same type of things that Feynman writes about in his appendix to the Rogers Commission Report on the Challenger accident. How a surface can tear fifty times more than it was designed to withstand and be considered uncompromising of the safety of the craft and its crew. The situation should have been seen as the potentially near catastrophic situation it really was and treated with the seriousness it deserved.
Starting tomorrow I'll publish Sarah's account of participating in the recovery efforts for the Columbia.