History of Science

Engineering blunders due to faulty measurement?



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  • The most famous one that I can remember is the Great Kersten Blunder(Kersten was the programer that made the error). The Vigor space probe was sent towards Venus, but because of the computer programing error installed on it had a converting program for millimeters to inches, but it divided by 24.5 instead of 25.4. This error caused it to miss Venus completely and was sent hurling into space. Over 2 billion dollars of technology was lost because of one simple error.
  • The Mars Climate Orbiter had a problem when trajectory programming teams from Europe and USA were working in two different measurement systems , imperial and metric. It missed the planet completely and was lost.