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On Jan. 27, 1967, we lost three astronauts in the Apollo 1 fire. On Feb. 1, 2003, seven astronauts died when Columbia broke apart upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. And Jan. 28, 1986 is when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven astronauts on board.
All three of these events were horrible. All three were the results of unlikely chains of events that seemed inevitable afterward. All three sparked immense debate over the dangers and value of exploring space.
Apollo is a 524 km-diameter impact basin located within the center of the the giant South Pole-Aitken basin. Apollo is also a Constellation Project Region of Interest, identified by NASA as a notional area for future human lunar exploration. The Constellation Region of Interest is located in the southwest corner of the mare deposit that fills this basin-within-a-basin.
After the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger, seven craters on the eastern rim of this basin were named after the crew: Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Dick Scobee, Michael Smith.