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Titan and Challenger - two tragedies, the same root

What do two seemingly completely different incidents have in common?

By Bozhan BozhkovPublished 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 3 min read
Credits: and NASA

During those days, while the war in Ukraine raged on, another tragedy captivated the collective consciousness, with hopes of a positive outcome. Unfortunately, those hopes were in vain. It was later revealed that in the days following the loss of communication with Titan, our hopes of rescuing the distressed submersible and its passengers alive were shattered. From the moment the signal was lost, everyone on board had already perished.

Throughout those agonizing days, we meticulously calculated the remaining oxygen supply and counted down the hours. We sought guidance from experts who explained the submersible's available resources and the ways for the passengers to conserve oxygen, all in a desperate attempt to extend the survival time. Yet, our efforts were in vain.

Ironically, there might have been a chance for survival if only the connection had been lost and the engine had malfunctioned. The rescuers have located them before the deadline, even if it was during the final hours, and was able to brought them safely to the surface. However, there was no one left to be rescued. The submersible's hull succumbed to the tremendous oceanic pressure, and all on board perished instantaneously.

Thirty-seven years ago, another similar tragedy unfolded when the Space Shuttle Challenger tragically burst into flames, claiming the lives of seven people.

At first glance, these two tragedies may appear vastly different. One involved a submersible, while the other centered around a spacecraft. Furthermore, one was a state mission, while the other was privately funded. However, the underlying reason behind both disasters remains the same: the arrogance of those in positions of power and their disregard for the advice of experts.

Prior to the explosion of the Challenger, numerous engineers had voiced concerns regarding issues with the boosters. There were even clips and pictures from the previous flight that clearly showed smoke emanating from the seals. Unfortunately, no action was taken. As a result, seven lives were tragically lost, and a spacecraft worth billions of dollars was completely destroyed.

In the case of "Titan," there were indeed warnings issued once again. Specialists emphasized the dangerous condition of the vessel's hull, highlighting the risks associated with its use. However, the only action taken was the dismissal of one engineer who had raised concerns about the potential threat to passengers.

Both incidents share a common thread: decisions that cost numerous lives were made by individuals lacking the necessary expertise and knowledge. Those who prioritized profit over security opted to overlook the malfunctioning devices, ultimately leading to the demise of innocent people.

While these two tragedies have gained worldwide notoriety, regrettably, they are not isolated occurrences. The television series "Air Crash Investigation" by National Geographic showcases numerous cases in the aviation industry where powerful yet incompetent persons disregarded the warnings of specialists, resulting in the loss of many lives.

Following numerous instances of plane crashes caused by ill-advised decisions, the aviation industry has undergone significant changes. Nowadays, engineers and pilots are given the final authority when it comes to safety measures, or at least that is the desired state. However, similar cases of disregarding expert advice persist in other domains, such as the construction of buildings.

The tragic events that unfolded in Türkiye and Syria earlier this year (2023), where a series of earthquakes claimed the lives of over sixty thousand people, serve as stark reminders of the consequences of neglecting safety measures. Furthermore, it was discovered that in areas where buildings were constructed in adherence to safety regulations for earthquake-prone regions, occupants had a greater chance of survival.

Numerous comparable cases can be found across various industries, including the automotive and mining sectors, as well as chemistry and pharmaceuticals, among others. Instances range from the release of inadequately purified gas emissions or wastewater from plants to the improper disposal of waste in natural habitats. Additionally, the neglect of warnings from climatologists and medical professionals further adds to the list of concerning behaviors.

At the root of all these distressing occurrences lies a common cause: a combination of arrogance, incompetence, power, and greed. These detrimental traits have led individuals and corporations to prioritize personal gain over the well-being of the environment, public health, and future generations.

In the opening, I mentioned the ongoing war in Ukraine. Upon reflection, it becomes evident that the underlying reason behind this conflict aligns with the theme discussed earlier: greed and a complete disregard for human suffering.

The war in Ukraine is a tragic manifestation of power struggles, territorial disputes, and economic interests taking precedence over the well-being and lives of countless people. It is disheartening to witness the profound impact such conflicts have on innocent civilians who are forced to endure immense suffering, displacement, and loss.


About the Creator

Bozhan Bozhkov

Hi, dear readers. I'm Bulgarian. I used to be a physicist, that's my education, but now I work as a network administrator. For many years, I have been writing a blog, and have also written several fairy tales and short stories, and a novel.

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Comments (2)

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  • Novel Allen6 months ago

    You have covered this so thoroughly that not much is left to say. History keeps repeating itself. The ego of the rich and powerful will always prevail and innocent will suffer.

  • Shortly after I published this article, I jumped into another one that provides a detailed analysis of the issues within the company. It is definitely worth reading:

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