Oh, man. This is just sick. I don't blame NASA at large for this, but it's been reported by ABC that someone stole a wedding ring off the remains of one of the Columbia astronauts.
Wow. Just wow.
It was probably someone on the recovery crew, but I know very little about this. I do know that people were looking for debris after the Shuttle broke up over Texas in January 2003. The bodies of the astronauts were recovered, and Laurel Clark had her wedding ring on her body. It was later gone, so it was most likely stolen. It's possible that someone not affiliated with NASA did this -- a lot of people were out in the woods looking for that debris, and the article linked above has very little detail about who found the body or was with it when the ring disappeared. But something like this will no doubt get a lot more press soon, and we'll learn more.
Worse (if possible), the news was released because NASA's Inspector General, Robert Cobb, is under withering fire from Congress about misconduct, and failure to report a security breach. That brew is coming to a head as well. According to the ABC article, Cobb tried to cover up the theft of the ring.
What a mess. And if I may, I have to point out-- this is the organization that was supposed to have covered up a fake Moon landing?
Anyway, with NASA fighting for funding (and $500 million still MIA from the budget due to the "Continuing Resolution" from Congress, freezing budgets at last year's rate) this will cause some heartburn at the NASA Public Affairs Office at the very least.
And of course, my heart goes out to the astronaut's husband. He lost his wife in such a horrible way, and then to have this happen... I can't imagine what he went through, and is still going through. This makes me terribly sad, and I hope this can be settled very soon.
This news comes from Fark.com, of all places.