7 February 2003
Searchers Seek Mystery Object from Doomed Shuttle
By Broward Liston

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Hundreds of searchers combed an area in east Texas on Thursday for a top-secret object from the doomed shuttle Columbia while Vice President Dick Cheney  paid tribute to the seven dead astronauts.

As it began to consider whether meteorites or even space junk played a role in the disintegration of the shuttle over Texas on Saturday, NASA  took steps to ensure that the investigation into the disaster would follow the evidence wherever it led.

In and around the tiny Texas town of Bronson, near the Louisiana border, hundreds of National Guardsmen, federal agents, state troopers and volunteers searched for a mystery object from the shuttle.

They searched block by block and used machetes to hack their way through thick woods that surround the town. The searchers were given a picture of a faceplate from the device, which said "Secret Government Property" in white letters on a black background.


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