Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NASA's AIM Mission in Trouble?

NASA is famous for spacecraft that fail spectacularly. The Mars Climate Orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere because the craft didn't convert between SI and English units and the famous Mars Polar Lander, affectionately known as the Mars Polar Crasher, crashed into the surface of Mars because, for some unknown reason, it shut off it's descent rocket some 5-10 km above the Martian surface. It looks like NASA might be in for another, albeit less spectacular failure. NASA's AIM satalite, which is designed to study the Earth's north and south poles, is based here at CU and according to someone close to the project, the AIM satalite has been happily sending it's "ready for comands" signal, but does not appear to be receiving any commands sent to it by NASA over the last few days. It's too early to tell if this condition is permanent, but if it is, the AIM mission, which was designed to last for two and a half years, may go down as another NASA flop.

1 comment:

  1. Science is already underfunded. It would be too bad if this is a flop, the government will probably be even more hesitant to fund these kinds of projects in the future.

    Second, I have always wondered what would happen if the government aggressively pushed for the US to adopt the metric system. I know they tried a little in the past but it didn't get anywhere. They would need to push it full speed ahead.

    People like me would complain for a long time, but in the end things would probably work out better. (I would complain just because I am so used to miles, gallons etc.. Gas would be cheaper if it was in liters however. ;) )


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