Feb 24Liked by Dan Elton

"They hit surface at 6 mph vertically instead of 2-4 mph and with a sideways velocity of 2 mph instead of 0 mph.... As a result the vehicle tipped over, possibly because they tripped on a rock, or because a leg got caught and broke (they don't know yet)."

-- Space is hard? Well yes, but it seems that SpaceX did all the hard work by launching Intuitive Machine's lander into orbit and on its way to the Moon.

Seems like the typical software design issues many projects (from the vending machines at the library where I often go that take my money and dispense no product) to "automation features" of appliances these days -- good intentions but poor thinking about what needs to go into a design and even poorer code in the implementations.

If they effectively crashed because they could not remove like 2mph velocity in both dimensions (I'm sure 4mph vertically would have been fine) .... come on.... this has nothing to do with space being hard.... but everything to do with the typical lousy software engineer out there.

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That’s quite a spicy take Howard!!

When I first heard them describing the need for a software update I also thought it was a software issue. However I think it’s a bit too early to pin a lot of blame on the software. The issue with the rangefinders was a simple mistake that probably could have been caught with more rigorous use of a pre-flight checklist.

As far as the error in the orbit, they haven’t explained that. Ditto for excess sideways velocity. Now, this lander was using some machine learning software that analyzed thousands of camera images of the surface during descent to assist in navigation. That certainly raises some eyebrows for me - it doesn’t seem necessary. Old fashioned radar can provide plenty of info about the spacecraft’s velocity and distance to the surface. I am very curious to learn if the use of ML contributed to spacecraft tipping over.

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Nice summation of this exciting space mission. If space wasn't hard, a lot more organizations would be operating on the moon right now. Hope we get all the data from this mission that we can. Better luck next time.

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