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NASA's Hard-Drive Miracle

Five years on, NASA recovers hard-drive data from the Columbia disaster

In what must be one of the most unlikely data recovery stories of the year, scientists at NASA have accessed research data from a hard drive that was almost destroyed during the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. The melted drive was amongst the wreckage when the shuttle disintegrated during re-entry over Texas, according to officials.

Remarkably, the hard drive from the experiment survived the disaster and was found amid the wreckage, and technicians were able to recover the rest of the data,” explains the NASA Website.

NASA worked with data recovery specialist Kroll Ontrack to access the data -- no small feat given that the drive’s metal exterior had been melted beyond recognition.

Kroll Ontrack engineer Jon Edwards told the Associated Press that, although about half of the drive had been damaged, virtually all of the data was on the undamaged half.

Somewhat fortuitously, the astronauts had been using DOS, which does not scatter data throughout the drive.

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