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When Close Isn’t Good Enough

By Sharad Goel

For a lot of engineering problems, “almost right” isn’t good enough. Remember the Mars Climate Orbiter? Traveling through space for nearly a year, and covering 700 million kilometers, the Orbiter disintegrated after entering the Martian atmosphere at an altitude just one-hundred kilometers lower than planned. That’s like a $100 million dart exploding when you miss... »