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Doomed Shuttle Debris Found In Texas Lake

A lost piece of debris from the doomed space shuttle Columbia has been found in a Texas lake eight years after it fell to Earth.

Nasa were called by police after the 4ft-wide sphere was spotted in the mud.

It was only revealed when the area was hit by drought and water levels receded.

Scientists confirmed the object was part of Columbia, which broke up in the atmosphere as it returned to Earth on February 1, 2003. Seven astronauts were killed in the disaster.

More than 80,000 pieces of wreckage rained down on Texas and Louisiana as the shuttle disintegrated at hypersonic speed, minutes before it was due to land at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The tragedy was watched by millions as television cameras filmed the shuttle trailing smoke.

Nasa said the sphere was one of 16 tanks on board Columbia used as part of the spacecraft’s electrical distribution system.

Once retrieved from the Nacogdoches area in Texas, it will be returned to Kennedy Space Centre, where wreckage from the shuttle is still being stored.

In the eight years since the disaster, barely 40% of the debris has been recovered.