Monday, January 19, 2004


That would have saved one of the Mars missions back in 1999. Remember the one that crashed into the surface because there was a mix-up between English and Metric units? It seems that the navigational coordinates were incorrectly entered and the poor, multi-million dollar piece of machinery went by-by. Recently, while listening to the January 6th webcast from Reasons to Believe, I heard a former JPL scientist describe how a backup system could have saved that 1999 mission. His name is Dave Rogstad and he worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter. He described a navigational system that is, evidently, very complex and tedious to manage. Nevertheless, if it had been employed on that 1999 mission it would have provided a calibration check to the fatally erroneous numbers that ended up being used. Such a cross calibration would have sent up a red flag, alerting the scientists that something wasn't quite kosher. Backup systems, redundancy, cross calibration via multiple independent checks... these are all hallmarks of design. In the realm of molecular biology we are just beginning to discover the myriad of complex, interdependent systems that display the handiwork of the Creator. Look for continued discoveries in 2004 that will provide further evidence of planning and forethought in this exciting field.

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