How NASA Engineers Helped Rescue Trapped Chilean Miners

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The poor Chilean miners who were trapped underground for weeks got some help escaping from an unlikely source: NASA. AOL News has a great story on the NASA engineer who helped design the capsule that brought the men up. The account reads like a terrestrial version of Apollo 13. It's awesome. Laura Parker reports:

When Cragg turned over the design elements to the Chilean navy, which refined them and built the capsule, the rescue craft that emerged looked as if it belonged on a science fiction movie's drawing board. Shaped like a cigar canister, with a drop-through escape hatch at the bottom, the capsule is designed to bring all 33 men up, one at a time, on a 20-minute ride from the hellhole where they have been trapped since Aug. 5. It is 13 feet long and weighs 926 pounds. "NASA is in the business of building unique, one-of-a-kind vehicles," Cragg told AOL News. "I thought we could help."

Read the full story at AOL News.


Image: Chile/AP.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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