February 3, 2003 12:13 PM PST
NASA site collects Columbia pictures
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"Digital cameras and camcorders are everywhere now," said Allard Beutel, a NASA spokesman. "As part of our investigation, we want everybody who has taken pictures or video to contact us. If people want to send that information to us, we want to give them the option to be able to do it digitally."
In addition to the FTP site, NASA gave out an e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the phone number of the Johnson Space Center Emergency Operations Center--(281) 483-3388.
NASA's submissions center is a so-called anonymous FTP site, which means people can send images to the site without first establishing an account with its server.
But NASA is still asking people who submit footage or images to include their names so the agency can contact contributors for more information or to request a copy of the original tape.
Images deemed promising to the investigation will be handed over to NASA's imagery analysis branch, which specializes in determining from pictures how spacecraft may have been damaged in flight.
Meanwhile, investigators searching for shuttle wreckage are creating a map of the debris by using Global Positioning System technology. GPS determines an object's latitude and longitude using a constellation of satellites, according to a representative for Sirf Technologies, a GPS chip vendor.
News.com's Ben Charny contributed to this report.