Shuttle Colombia Hard Drive Data RECOVERED – WOW

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  • Written on: May 30th, 2008

Colombia Hard DriveWhen the space shuttle Colombia disintegrated on reentry, some of the debris survived the initial reentry and crashed on Earth. One of those pieces of debris was a hard drive containing data from an experiment the crew conducted in orbit.

Of course, it was assumed that the data would never be recovered from the hard drive when it was found. Just to be certain, the drive was handed off to a data recovery company to give it the old college try.

“When we got it, it was two hunks of metal stuck together. We couldn’t even tell it was a hard drive. It was burned and the edges were melted,” said Edwards, an engineer at Kroll Ontrack Inc., outside Minneapolis. “It looked pretty bad at first glance, but we always give it a shot.”

Shockingly, they were able to recover all of the data from the drive. The recovery was primarily due to the fact that the computer that held the 360 GB monster was equipped with a DOS operating system.

Dos saves data linearly on the disk, unlike modern operating systems that scattered data all over the drive. The pieces of the drive that were damaged happened to contain no data, so a full recovery was possible.

The engineers were presented with a couple other hard drives in a similar state, but were unable to recover any data from them.

Its pretty cool that one of the last experiments those astronauts did was able to be salvaged from such a severe situation.

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