Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cadillac Ranch

"Curiosity, the Cadillac of Mars rovers, will carry a plethora of instruments to the Red Planet," reads the headline.

Provocatively , the puff piece from Pasadena passes on presenting a precise picture of its ponderous pricetag.

As the 475nm Ribbon Panel nears the end of it's chartered time, and our human spaceflight heritage is relegated to history, it will soon be time to rotate our gaze to the Cadillac Ranch on the left coast with our green shades on. There we can examine the debacle enveloping the remains of our robotic program as well. How our exploration timeline jumped from using Honda Civics to Cadillacs is worth least by Nunn-McCurdy.

Just image the scientific take that a dozen Spirits and Opportunities, loaded with different instruments, could have returned if they were distributed over our Red neighbor. But, no, bigger is better, right?

Better ask the new Waiter over at Dynetics how that worked out for him.


Anonymous said...

Isn't the price difference more like Lamborghini versus Honda

Anonymous said...

I think its Cook to Boeing.

Anonymous said...

"Cook to Boeing" Good comparison. Something else that would NEVER happen.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that there is a place for both types of probes. Having probes of higher and lower sophistication is really quite a good idea. The problem is not taking a step-wise approach to evolving the probes with gradually increasing capabilities. Insisting on huge step changes in vehicle design is a recipe for not only astronomical costs and difficult to manage risks but a high probability of mission failure due to some overlooked minor problem.
I suspect this organizational behavior is due to the discontinuous funding profiles and overall starvation of the robotic exploration efforts. A more continuous and deliberate approach rather than the ad hoc stuff we end up with might be a more frugal approach. Perhaps we need an Augustine commission on this non-crewed stuff as well.

Anonymous said...

I feel very sorry for any company actually "interested" in giving any of these morons a job.

Given their past performance records, their appointment anywhere can only spell bad ju-ju for that organization.

Bad luck Dynetics...

Anonymous said...

if they had stuck with the original mars rover
from back in 99 and just built a lot more
they would have the planet well instrumented.