How Lessons from Mars Polar Lander Helped Spirit Space News

Current and former NASA officials gave much of the credit for the successful landing of the Spirit Mars rover Jan. 5 to the lessons drawn from a recent pair of failed attempts to explore the red planet up close. Among those lessons is that the budgets for such complex undertakings must be flexible enough to accommodate the inevitable problems that crop up during development. But while setting arbitrary cost caps on missions can be a recipe for failure, bigger budgets do not guarantee success, they said.