Re: Mars Polar Lander

Michael M. Butler (
Sat, 04 Dec 1999 08:44:57 -0800

I can understand your frustration, Hal, but here's my read on it.

They had nothing good to report, and they were in no hurry to report it. OR
They had good news, and were consequently _way_ too busy trying to get maximum dope on a possibly-ailing probe before it went dark again.

I take the former as very much the more likely, at the moment.


verb. sap.: The'yre _not_ the *We gotta fill the air so we can sell ads* media we've become adapted to.
The Web, as the new media, doesn't play by the rules of the old mass media. I don't *want* puffery or lies, and I'll take the responsibility of channel activity analysis (when I remember to).

At 08:23 1999/12/04 -0800, you wrote:
>I was trying to follow the progress of the mission on the
>two "official" web sites I knew about,
>(operated by UCLA which will be in charge of the lander mission) and
>, from JPL.
>How frustrating! These sites were hours and hours out of date. The JPL
>site at 6 PM Friday had only an update from 1 PM saying that the first
>window had been silent, no mention of the second one even though it
>was three hours old. And the UCLA site had no mention whatsoever of
>mission status.
>Similar lapses occured with the Leonid meteor "storm" last month, the
>Leonid sites were typically 2 to 5 hours out of date in reporting
>activity levels. They would go many hours between updates.
>It's great that these groups run web sites, but I wish they would
>devote more resources to keeping them updated. Sure, the scientists
>are busy, but there should be media people whose job it is to put out
>timely information. I don't want to have to turn on the TV or radio to
>get the latest news about the Mars lander, I want to be ahead of the TV
>people by getting it straight from the web.