Keeping in mind the fact that the "Shuttle program" was clearly always a movie making project, with their actor-nauts carefully selected for cultural, political & propaganda purposes, here's one possible scenario:
What if NASA’s Star Trek recruiter casting scout (Nichelle Nichols) found, or was told to find, a likely candidate for their “first Jewish woman in space” drama who strongly resembled a current, local Law Professor, Judith Resnik, and decided to give her the same name (only adding a middle name) for associative "gravitas" (and/or just for shits & giggles)?
Quite possibly, dear Maat - quite possibly, and rest assured that I deeply appreciate your input on this edgy matter. At this moment, I am probably over-fascinated by this issue so I do need - more than ever - your sharp insights and help! But just to respond to your last post (re: hand sizes), here's a different comparison of the two Judiths' hands. I have tried my best (using various facial / bodily measurements) to properly re-size / proportionate these two pictures taken from fairly similar angles. As you can see, their hand /finger sizes are more similar here:
As for voice recognition, I am aware of that technology - but I doubt it would be very useful / reliable in the case of comparing two voices (and anatomies) separated by thirty years in time. As wiki mentions:
"Voice changes due to ageing may impact system performance over time. Some systems adapt the speaker models after each successful verification to capture such long-term changes in the voice, though there is debate regarding the overall security impact imposed by automated adaptation."
At this point I feel like submitting a little disclaimer (and an apology to those who may already be bored about this issue by now...) : I am not exactly on a mission / crusade to "prove the point" that the two Judiths are one and the same individual. I will gracefully retract all my suspicions if proven demonstrably wrong about it all. All I'm doing here is running all the available facts / data / and photo material "through the Cluesforum grinder", so to speak...
No worries, Simon
I completely understand and share your fascination with such a peculiar mystery among so many NASA lies and “space oddities”. I think you’re right that speaker recognition would probably not be reliable considering the time-span.
The hands resting on desks (slightly angled/side view) don’t really show hand width and finger lengths as clearly as those taken straight-on (with unique details like wide angle/spread of left little finger). Ironically, the faces in those two photos look even less similar in bone structure and mouth shape.
Having studied both Judiths speaking & moving on video, I am seeing less resemblance now than the initial photo examples made them appear. Faces of a similar type
can often resemble other people if caught in a particular angle, expression etc. (notice how both Judiths differ between their own respective photos in the same way).
However, the idea of a media-promoted, and dramatically “deceased”, NASA actor-naut simply returning to and carrying on with a prestigious law career without even a name change or anyone noticing is what makes no sense to me. (Which one is more likely to have been given a fake name to associate
them with a real university graduate?)
Just like most 9/11 vicsims are not there either. Of course, I have absolutely no doubt that whatever the true identity of the actress who played “Judith Resnik Shuttle Astronaut” might be, she did not
“die” in the imaginary “Challenger Shuttle” either.