The frames of 70-mm film provide dramatic visual evidence of a possibility hinted at earlier: the crew cabin of the space shuttle Challenger, and perhaps some of the seven crew members, survived the fireball loosed by the Jan. 28 shuttle explosion, and then dropped to the ocean in a nine-mile fall lasting three to four minutes. The photos, which NASA released last week under pressure from a presidential investigation commission, were taken by a high-speed telephoto tracking camera two miles from the launching pad. They show what appears to be an intact crew cabin sailing out and away from the blast, raising new questions about whether the astronauts could have survived had Challenger been equipped with parachutes or escape rockets.HEALTH Barring Aliens With AIDS
The Immigration and Naturalization Service lists seven infectious diseases that are grounds for refusing immigrants entry into the U.S.: active tuberculosis, leprosy, syphilis and four other venereal diseases. Now the U.S. Public Health Service has proposed adding another ailment: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which has killed a reported 10,408 Americans.
Although the proposal would bar anyone diagnosed as having AIDS, it would not routinely screen all prospective immigrants with the antibody blood test, which in itself does not prove that an individual has the disease. The ruling, which could take effect this summer if approved, would probably be generally acceptable to the gay community. Said Ron Najman, media director for the Gay and Lesbian Task Force in New York City: "It is hard to argue against denying entry to someone with an obvious case of AIDS."POLITICS The Chairman For President
To hear him tell it, Chrysler Chairman Lee lacocca, 61, wants to run for President about as much as he wants to be seen driving a Ford. "I have no intention at all of entering the funny world of politics," he told reporters in Washington last week. "I don't want to have a mid-career change and bring on a mid-life crisis."
Neither that reluctance nor the fact that lacocca, who most recently described himself as a Republican, has stopped supporters from trying to draft him as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1988. Several Washington political consultants have joined a few Michigan Democrats to form the Draft Lee lacocca Committee Inc. They plan to raise $50,000 during the next two months to investigate the legal barriers to a genuine draft of lacocca. Their cause is complicated by a tradition that says drafts rarely succeed and by election laws in some states that work against getting undeclared and unwilling candidates on the ballot. Nevertheless, the fledgling committee could have reason to dream: a Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this year had lacocca trailing behind only Colorado Senator Gary Hart and New York Governor Mario Cuomo, among other likely Democratic candidates.CRIME Deadly Gunk From el Norte
In the popular imagination, crime in the California-Mexico border region flows one way: south to north, in the form of illegal immigrants looking for work or drug traffickers searching for profit. But according to a federal indictment announced last week in San Diego, crooks have been sending trouble southward, in the form of toxic waste.