A video, released Friday by NASA, shows the last images of the Columbia astronauts alive, as they prepare to re-enter the earth's atmosphere. The 13 minute video was shot by one of the crew members as they go through their final checklist in the shuttle cockpit.
The video somehow survived the disaster and was found among the debris near Palestine. It is very moving.
Just before the tape ends at 8:48 a.m., the shuttle is at 250,000 feet, still over the Pacific. Four minutes after the tape stops, the first sign of trouble, eleven minutes later, all communication is lost.
The tape was found about a week after the tragedy. NASA says it doesn't shed any light on what caused the shuttle to disintegrate only 16 minutes before it was scheduled to land.