back to article Human error to blame for demise of Mars orbiter

Human error was the most likely cause of the loss of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. That is the conclusion of NASA's preliminary investigation into the disappearance of the craft, which lapsed into radio silence late in 2006. The final communication with the craft was in November 2006, when mission managers …


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  1. Sean Healey

    Human Error

    I guess its time to roll out the classic SCI-FI quote:

    HAL9000 : "Well, I don't think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has cropped up before and it has always been due to human error."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Son, I brought you into this world ...

    As the now famous Heathcliff Huxtable told his son.

    Son, I brought you into this world. I will take you out!

  3. Arnold Lieberman


    You'd think on a project as serious as this they'd post all planned uploads to a simulation system, thus spotting things like corrupt memory writes before it happens on the real thing.

  4. Scott

    NASA can't even get it right

    If NASA can't get the programming right on their space craft, what hope does Microsoft have of "getting it right" with their security?

    It makes you wonder...

  5. david wilson

    Is it some universal journalistic rule...

    ... that any article written about Mars must include the phrase 'Red Planet'?

    It might add a tiny bit of linguistic variety to an individual article if 'Mars' isn't used for each and every reference to the celestial body in question, but it can get a bit dull when almost every article uses the same phrase to try and achieve that distinctly limited variety.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternatives for "red planet"

    This crimson globe, effervescent in the satanic glow of its sulphurous vapours; this scarlet sphere, this bloodied opal orb, ruby satellite of the sun. How this blushing rose of space haunts me with the fiery light of its volcanic desire, ruddied and rubicund, engorged, ripe, swelling, hot, pumping like a giant heavenly heart.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    journalistic convention?

    Only in the sense that water finding it's own level is a "physical convention" ;-) - the common laziness of all journalists equates to a convention. And given they're journalists, I bet they're all out the back of the convention hall getting hammered.

    However I have to point out that anything beyond "red planet" - as ashley points out - is going to be a bit flowery...

    The planet of war? The two mooned crimsonisphere? The home of the water debate? What the victorians called 'Canaltown'? The planet Arizona? Pottery world? Darpa's equipment dump? Fourth rock from the sun? Our blushing cosmic buddy? What Pirates call "mArrs"?


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