Blake Shipp of Carriere, Mississippi, citing an article originally written by Brian Larson of Preaching Today magazine back in the year 2000, points out the many problems that have plagued NASA in their attempt to reach Mars.
In 1997, the Mars Pathfinder Lander riveted the nation's attention with a live feed from Mars' surface. We were fascinated by live pictures. The future looked bright for a new and improved NASA. They planned to send at least one mission to Mars every 26 months, but to do this they had to follow a new policy by their head director Dan Goldin: Faster. Better. Cheaper.
To design these missions for about one-tenth the cost, they cut staff and poorly trained the remaining staff; they overworked their navigation teams, giving them responsibilities for up to three missions at one time. They tried to get a quality product without putting money, effort, and time into it.
The next two missions were utter failures. In September of 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter failed due to a dumb mistake. The builder had used English units of measurements in the systems while the operators at NASA were using metric units.
This past spring, the Mars Polar Lander broke into thousands of tiny pieces as it hit the surface of Mars at 50 miles an hour because a design flaw cut the braking system off too soon. This flaw, the engineering team acknowledged, could have been prevented by running a software simulation that was not purchased because of lack of funding. Skipping steps ended in disaster.
Obviously, details are important. Pay attention to the small things, for they really do matter. As Jesus once said of the faithful servant: “His lord said to him, Well done, good and true servant: you have been true in a small thing, I will now give you control over great things…” (Matthew 25:23, Basic English Bible Translation)