Tico Astronaut Witnesses Sinking of Boat Namesake

June 24, 2005

COSTA Rican-born U.S. astronautFranklin Chang went diving near IslaTortuga last Friday, shortly after witnessingthe intentional sinking of his namesake,a 200-meter-long, 100-ton formerCoast Guard boat.“The boat and I were made in thesame year (1950), and the boat and I aregoing to the bottom of the sea, but, in mycase, I hope to come to the surface tokeep serving for many more years,”Chang told the daily La Nación beforediving in the water to watch the boat settleon the ocean floor.But Franklin Chang the boat andFranklin Chang the astronaut have morethan a name in common: the boat toowill go on serving a purpose, now as anartificial reef for fish and coral, a repopulationeffort that was also the fate of theCoast Guard boat named CoronelAlfonso Monge.Chang, who boasts seven space tripsduring his time with the U.S. NationalAeronautics and Space Administration,visited from the United States for theevent. Low visibility prohibited himfrom seeing the boat underwater, butafter 20 years of sharing a name, it wastime to go their separate ways.

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