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February 17, 2003

Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington DC

Eileen M. Hawley
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Release: #N03-019

NASA Asks Farmers for Help Finding Columbia Material

NASA is asking farmers and ranchers in the western United States to stay alert for material from the Space Shuttle Columbia on their property. With spring plowing already under way or beginning, it is possible for some of these items – which may still be hazardous – to be covered up or damaged through normal agricultural activities.

Farmers, ranchers and their workers in New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana are asked to be on the lookout for possible shuttle materials 60 miles north or south of a line stretching generally from San Francisco, Calif., to Lafayette, La. Farmers in the Texas counties of Ellis, Haskell, Henderson, Hood, Johnson, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall Throckmorton and Young should be especially watchful.

Shuttle materials lying in fields may not look like typical aircraft components. Pictures of typical shuttle debris may be viewed at the following website:

Anyone who discovers debris suspected to be from the accident is urged to avoid contact, because it may be hazardous as a result of toxic propellants aboard the shuttle. Farmers are cautioned to temporarily avoid cultivation in areas where debris is found because it may damage equipment or be unearthed again in future plowing cycles.

Telephone reports should be made by calling, toll-free:


Text reports and images should be e-mailed to:

All debris is U.S. Government property and is critical to the investigation of the mishap. All debris from the accident is to be left alone and reported to Government authorities. Unauthorized persons found in possession of accident debris will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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text-only version of this release