Location: Outer Space
Estimated Damage Value: $125 million*
Imagine pouring years into a piece of complex machinery, only for it to finally make it into space, then disintegrate into nothing. NASA was devastated when they invested $125 million on the Mars Climate Orbiter in the 1990s only to see it burn up. The worst part? It was because one team was using the Metric System, while another was using the Imperial System.
The team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory used one type of measuring system while Lockheed Martin’s division used another. Neither party realized until it was too late, spelling disaster for the project when it could have easily been avoided.
Director of George Washington University’s space policy institute put it best when he told the LA Times, “That is so dumb. There seems to have emerged over the past couple of years a systematic problem in the space community of insufficient attention to detail.”