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Look at those cavemen go

6 Aug 2012, 21:26 UTC
Look at those cavemen go
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Well that was worth getting out of bed for! (I imagine; thanks to the iPad and NASATV I didn't have to bother). I don't think I have much to add to the general yawps of pride, joy, excitement, relief and so on; it was an amazing achievement, and a real thrill. But there's something to be said for taking opportunities to refresh oneself on the basics, which are often forgotten. "It's sometimes a struggle to know what you know," as my friend Ken puts it; as Donald Rumsfeld might have said, there are knowns that sometimes somehow get unknown.
The cost pendulum has swung all the way over. In the days when my Mars interests were at their peak, NASA was in full-on faster-cheaper-better mode. The cheapness carried the can for the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter, the Mars Polar Lander and the Deep Space Two microprobes. This was not, I think, fully deserved. As I remember the inquiry MCO was lost because of poor management; anomalies were noticed but not hunted down. The MPL case was more complex; more money might have caught the bug that probably did it in. Either way, faster-better-cheaper went out the door. Curiosity ...

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