I consider anyone a hero if they're willing to ride a column of flame into space. This week we mark the anniversaries of losing some heroes in the line of duty:
Apollo 1, January 27, 1967
--Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom --Senior Pilot Edward H. White --Pilot Roger B. Chaffee
Shuttle Challenger, STS-51L, January 28, 1986
--Commander Francis R. Scobee --Pilot Michael J. Smith --Mission Specialists ----Ellison S. Onizuka ----Judith A. Resnik ----Ronald E. McNair --Payload Specialists ----Gregory B.Jarvis ----S. Christa McAuliffe (Teacher in Space)
Shuttle Columbia, STS-107, February 1, 2003
--Commander Rick D. Husband --Pilot William C. McCool --Mission Specialists ----David M. Brown ----Kalpana Chawla (Flight Engineer) ----Laurel B. Clark --Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson --Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon
Best way I can think to honor their memory is to put up this NASA Astronomy Pic of the Day, Atlantis (STS-30) taking the Magellan Venus probe into orbit (click on it to enlarge, or follow the link).