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(TFT) Re: TFT Digest V4 #215

At 10:41 -0500 11/14/11, JAy wrote:
Is this FOR REAL?!?
I mean... I MEAN... WTF?!?
Is it just me or do Mars missions have a HUGE rate of failure?

They sort of do, don't they? Not sure that's statistically significant, but it does seem noticeable.

The one that killed me was the english to metric miss.
I don't think I believe it.

I've talked to enough people that were responsible or investigated that I'm convinced. There are several root causes; among the least recognized is a JPL/Caltech policy that reserves should be expended linearly as project milestones are achieved. The problem with that is that the majority of problems, and the expensive problems, usually occur during late testing of the completed or nearly-completed spacecraft, at which point the reserves which might allow the project to correct the problems properly have already been expended. In this case, several previous burns had shown "anomalous" results (that is, the metric/english bug had bitten them before) but they had downsized the operations staff to try to get back onto a previously blown budget and nobody had time to analyze the data and figure it out. Likewise, the Polar Lander bug (landing struts deployed, the shock of deployment triggered engine cut-off far too high, and the probe fell to its destruction) occurred in a test, but the test was not re-run from the start (to save budget and schedule due to lack of reserves) and the flaw was not identified.

Not that I really think such things, but it makes a bit of ironic sense if
the Martians were as bad at landing on earth as we were at Mars ah la

(grin) well, we have not left any dead astronauts, taikonauts, or cosmonauts on other planets. Yet.
						- Mark     210-379-4635
Large Asteroids headed toward planets
inhabited by beings that don't have
technology adequate to stop them:

				Think of it as Evolution in Fast-Forward.
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