With the historic landing of spacecraft "Curiosity" on Mars, now would be a great time to visit the 'Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum' in Hemphill. 

Yeah, me too...had no idea this existed, so I'm thinking there are others that may not be aware of the grand tribute to "Columbia".

From it's first mission in April 1981 to its tragic demise over East Texas in 2003, you can hear the "Columbia" story.

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle disintegrated.  Debris fell from the sky stretching from the Dallas area to Tyler; even as far away as Louisiana.

The cause of the accident stemmed from a piece of foam insulation that broke off during launch, striking the leading edge of the left wing, and subsequently damaging the system which protected the vehicle from intense heat.   Upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, hot gases penetrated the internal wing structure, causing "Columbia" to bust apart.

Seven crew members were suddenly lost that day, including two others assisting with search and rescue.

Museum hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information click here.