September 24, 2014
You've probably heard by now that India's ISRO space agency put a probe into orbit around Mars the other day. Dubbed "MOM", for Mars Orbiter Mission, this is a noteworthy success in a number of ways. First and foremost is that it succeeded at all.
Mars has always been something of a bugaboo for human space missions. Though NASA hasn't had a failure since 1999, roughly 2/3rds of all missions bound for the Red Planet have had mission failure in one way or another. Some of these failures were spectacular (the Mars Climate Orbiter's metric-imperial mixup), some less so (Zond 2's loss of communication three months before reaching the planet), but there were an awful lot of them. That a space organization got it right on its first try at Mars is impressive enough, but there's another reason to be surprised.
The entire Mars Orbiter Mission reportedly had a price tag of around $74 million dollars. Construction, launch, salaries, catering, you name it, covered by that number. Force India, the Formula 1 team owned by Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, has a race budget of right around $100 million... and that doesn't count catering.
Now, to be fair, all MOM did was deliver a 15kg satellite into an elliptical orbit around Mars, some 60 million miles away. Force India, on the other hand, delivers a 70kg payload to sixth place after 190 miles or so.
Food for thought, that.
Posted by: Ben at September 25, 2014 02:04 PM (DRaH+)
Posted by: Mauser at September 25, 2014 02:29 PM (TJ7ih)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 25, 2014 05:08 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: flatdarkmars at September 25, 2014 06:07 PM (ToEpQ)
But DAMN they look cool!
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 25, 2014 06:55 PM (BCjxQ)
Posted by: Mauser at September 26, 2014 07:34 AM (TJ7ih)
Posted by: vonKrag at September 26, 2014 12:45 PM (ArsMf)
I really should do a post on Can-Am. It was the first racing series I have memories of, some time in the early '70s. Somewhere back at the Old Home Pond, there's a box of Ektachrome slides from a trip to Road America my father took me on when I was about six or so.
I haven't seen them in years, but I remember one of them had a fantastic profile view of a Chaparral 2J in race trim. I can only assume it was on a demonstration lap, since it was long past being deemed illegal.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 26, 2014 08:29 PM (BCjxQ)
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