Nasa is concerned the dangling material - called gap fillers - could cause part of the shuttle to overheat as it re-enters the atmosphere.
The underside of the shuttle is exposed to the most intense heating during its re-entry to Earth's atmosphere. Protrusions on this otherwise smooth belly could disturb the air flow during re-entry, causing turbulence that raises temperatures on heat shield tiles downstream.
Give me a break. They've landed the Shuttle with this problem before. No failures so far.
The official line is that Engineers don't have any clue about the "aerodynamics" involved... I think physical on site testing should be given the priority when it comes to evidence. In this case the evidence says this is bogus.
A Public Relations strategy? Probably. Though there could be something unique about this situation that's different than previous Shuttle missions that had dangling fillers... Unless I see that different "thing", this is just a space walk for appearances as far as I'm concerned.