On January 28, 1986, the American Space Shuttle Challenger launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida on its 10th mission. It exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, bringing a devastating end to the spacecraft. The disaster claimed the lives of all seven astronauts onboard, including a teacher from New Hampshire who had been selected to join the mission and teach lessons from space to schoolchildren around the country, Christa McAuliffe. An investigation found that the two rubber O-rings, which were designed to separate the sections of the rocket booster, failed due to bad weather, very cold Florida temperature on the morning of the launch.
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Nat Castañeda is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. A California native, Castañeda works primarily in video and collage, with an emphasis on tactile intimacy with her materials remaining an important aspect of all her projects. Common issues in Castañeda’s work are the conflating of iconography and pornography, the questioning of traditional gender binaries, and the role of technology within personal narratives. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has shown at venues such as El Museo del Barrio and Electronic Arts Intermix. In addition to her art practice, Castañeda currently works at The Associated Press where she leads a team that curates AP's online archive of historic and contemporary photojournalism. Castañeda’s photography has appeared in the New York Times,U.S. News & World Report and USA Today.