Killer Foam

I’m having a little trouble wrapping my mind around the problem with foam insulation on the shuttle. I know that the Columbia tragedy was blamed on a wing damaged during takeoff by flyaway foam. Maybe the physics involved is beyond me, but come on: It’s foam.

Chunks of foam have been flying off the shuttles during takeoff since the program started, and now it’s a life-threatening problem? If so, why is NASA considering a launch at all?

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