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NPR's All Things Considered Updates
Broadcast 30/09/1999, Story 2

Nasa has learned a lesson that could be used as an example for middle school students the space agency now says the one hundred twenty five million dollar mars orbiter spacecraft was lost last week because two teams of scientists were using different measurement systems

Nasa says the likely lockheed martin team that built the spacecraft you see a mishmash of mountain peaks but mission controllers at the jet propulsion laboratory sent out key orbital commands using the metric system to make steps and the orbiter into the martian atmosphere at the wrong trajectory before they register the probe stop sending and receiving signals nasa assumes they are better either burned out or broke apart

Metric measures are typically used to navigate space craft nasa has not explain why the probe is built to english standards or why no one at mission control noticed the discrepancy three separate investigations of this incident are underway another spacecraft the mars program answer is scheduled to go into orbit around mars on december their home



Interface designed by Ben Timms and Rich Wareham 1999