Mars Phoenix Lander – beating the odds

I’ve just finished watching the successful landing of NASA and JPL’s Phoenix lander on Mars. Previous success rate for landing on Mars was less than 50%. Not great odds by any stretch.

Interesting that not only is the Phoenix lander made extensively out of the technology of the failed previous attempt (Mars Polar Lander) but the result of several review boards, and the Phoenix project team’s own review of the failed Polar Lander’s story revealed many flaws that could be corrected. Most of us don’t operate in such a failure-prone, bet it all on black-or-red environment, but it is telling how errors get through all our rigourous testing.

Congratulations to the Phoenix team.

Published by David Kirk

The opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and other commenters and are not necessarily those of his employer or any other organisation. David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation.