Sunday, July 26, 2009

Typo Scuttles Launch

This caught our eye today:

July 22, 1962: Mariner 1 Done In by a Typo
By Tony Long July 22, 2009 12:00 am

When The New York Times copy desk lets a typo slip through, it’s embarrassing but no one gets hurt. When NASA programmers screw up, the consequences are a tad more dramatic, not to mention expensive. In this case, a “missing hyphen” in code forces mission control to abort the launch of the unmanned Mariner 1 probe less than five minutes after liftoff. (Read more.)

Is it just us, or should the "after" above actually read "before"? We're not rocket scientists, but can you stop something that's already happened? Is there a difference between launch and liftoff? Space cadets want to know.

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