Ilan Ramon´s Diary, Including Kiddush, Found

Israeli scientists have pieced together late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon’s flight diary from recently recovered charred remains.

, | updated: 8:25 PM

The remains of the diary survived the fiery breakup of the Columbia space shuttle, the 38-mile fall to Earth and two months of sun and rain in a field in Texas.

Ramon and six other astronauts were killed when their spacecraft, which was on its way back to Earth following a two-week shuttle to outer space, caught fire and crashed. Much of the world was plunged into mourning over the loss.

Eight months before the flight, the astronauts were asked to make a list of personal items they would like to take into space. Ramon chose the following:
* A drawing of Earth as it might look from the moon, drawn by a boy who died in Auschwitz shortly before the end of the war. This, because his mother was an Auschwitz survivor.
* As a representative of the State of Israel, he took along a Presidential pennant, as well as flags of the Israel Air Force, the two cities in which he lived - Be'er Sheva and Ramat Gan - and the high school in which he studied.
* He hung a mezuzah on one of the doors in the spacecraft.
* He took a silver 'hand' used for reading from the Torah, a Kiddush cup used on the Sabbath, and a Book of Psalms.

In addition, at every press conference he would proudly say, 'I am an emissary of Zionism and the Jewish People.'"

Israeli forensic scientists analyzing the remnants found afterwards used image-enhancement software and infrared light to read the diary after piecing many of the segments together. Israeli police examiner Sharon Brown, who specializes in recovering documents, marveled at the fact that the cardboard-bound notebook had survived at all. “You know what a lit match could do to that pile of paper?” she told a meeting of forensic scientists in Louisiana this week.

Ilan Ramon, of Blessed Memory, Holds a Kiddush Cup Aboard the Space-Shuttle Columbia
One of the pages that survived included the carefully copied words of Kiddush, the Sabbath blessing over wine that Ramon recited in outer space.