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NASA - A comedy of errors

Dr. Neville Thomas Jones, Ph.D.


 

The Scotsman of 20th October 2004 reported (on page 17) that,

"Investigators have found that drawings for the [NASA probe that crash landed in the Utah desert in September 2004] were done back to front ...

"Dr Michael G Ryschkewitsch, the chairman of the mishap investigation board (MIP) emphasised that the panel had not yet completed its findings on what went wrong with the 146 million mission to capture particles of the solar wind ...

"Members of the MIP are now trying to establish how the mistake escaped detection.

"The same company [i.e., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics] was also involved in the two botched NASA missions to Mars in 1999 ... when scientists failed to notice that they had been receiving data from Lockheed in imperial units but otherwise had been working in metric units.

"The Genesis capsule spent three years in space and captured billions [i.e., milliards] of atoms from the sun ... although its total payload returning to Earth weighed less than a grain of sand."

 

Good grief. 146 million down the drain is a "mishap"? Drawings done back to front?! Hmmm. Just how could that be possible? "Scientists failed to notice that they had been receiving data from Lockheed in imperial units but otherwise had been working in metric units"? What sort of "scientists" were these, when there are best part of two kilometres in a mile? The excuse had been that the retro rockets (good, science-fiction stuff) had been fired too late, due to this mix up in units. But how come it was reportedly in Mars orbit in the first place? Surely it would have been either only part of the way to Mars, or it would have totally overshot Mars, with such a significant difference in units? How come a simple probe crashes in the Utah desert, when missions of the 'Apollo' programme of 1969-72 allegedly went to the Moon and back?

Perhaps this is a typo (there are more than enough 'errors' already, so what's another one?) and it's really the MIB (men in black) who are examining the crashed probe to see if any aliens are aboard? Perhaps they will take them back to the big, military hangers in restricted areas? If so, I hope that they don't apply the brakes too late and mess up the Moon sets, since one never knows when these might be needed again.

Oh well, back to the Virtual Reality drawing board and artists' impressions that hard-working Americans are being placed in never-ending 'debt' to finance ...

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