Columbia Disaster Underscores the Risky Nature of Risk Analysis

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Science  14 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5609, pp. 1001-1002
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5609.1001

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This month's breakup of the space shuttle Columbia, the second such catastrophe in 113 flights, suggests that NASA's most recent official risk estimate of 1 failure in 250 is off. Why can't NASA get it right? The answer lies in a field known as probabilistic risk assessment.

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