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  • this video was made possible by brilliant learn, complex subjects simply at brilliant dot org's slash real life floor Math is hard, but at least you probably have never made a math mistakes that cost your company hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

  • Not everybody could be so lucky as you, though.

  • You see, back in 1999 NASA tried getting a satellite into orbit around Mars, but it caught on fire and blew up immediately when it arrived.

  • They traced the problem back to a single math error that was probably caused by a small group of people who would all probably be jealous of whatever the biggest mistake that you think you've ever made.

  • Waas.

  • But in order to understand how the math error was made and why it costs so much money and time, we need to take a history lesson in Communist units, also known as the metric system.

  • Before the metric system, the world was ruled by chaos, and everybody used a different system for measuring things based on whatever the hell they felt like basically.

  • But all of that began to change in France, or the metric system was first invented in the 17 nineties, when the people decided to invent a new system that, you know, actually made some sense.

  • A guy named Napoleon came around and started conquering stuff and spreading the metric system around like it was some kind of disease.

  • Germany and Italy were both made up of a bunch of different independent countries at the time who each use their own different crazy forms of measuring things.

  • And that was difficult for one simple reason.

  • Imagine for a moment that you live in Bavaria and you need to trade a bag of potatoes for a pig with some guy in Prussia, you weigh your potatoes and units of Toyota Corollas.

  • Well, the guy you're trading within Prussia not only doesn't know what the hell that even is, but he also measure things by weighing them in units of the clay brick that some king 100 years ago decided was the standard that is confusing.

  • And if you throw in even Mawr weirdos with their other weird systems of weighing things, you can see how it gets even worse.

  • So trading with people sucks.

  • But what if we could just abandon our own systems and all just use a brand new system of measuring things that we all will have in common, and we'll all have to learn.

  • So it's fair.

  • I don't know that sounds like communism set England, but I don't know.

  • That sounds pretty great, said Germany and Italy, who both promptly adopted it after France and so metric became the hot new fat across Europe and its bread from their toe.

  • All of their colonies, which was basically everywhere.

  • France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and the Ottomans all adopted metric in the 19th century, but other countries took a little bit longer.

  • Russia adopted it in 1918 after the Russian Revolution.

  • Japan and China picked it up in the 19 twenties and India picked it up basically right after they got independence from Britain.

  • By the 19 sixties, every country in Europe had adopted the metric system except for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  • The English speaking world has always been the slowest community in the world to adopt metric, mostly because we think that the English invented units of pounds and inches and yards makes more sense for for some reason, and also because the English invented that system and not the gross French.

  • Anyway.

  • The UK finally said fine in 1965 and caved in and adopted Metric.

  • Ireland followed suit a few years later, as did New Zealand, Australia and finally Canada in 1973.

  • By the current year in 2019, every single country in the entire world, except for three of them, have adopted the metric system.

  • And those three are Myanmar, Liberia and the United States, which is the last English speaking country holdout that hasn't caved in yet.

  • The metric system has had a rather complicated history in the United States.

  • The federal government adopted it as the official system of measurement for the military and government agencies back in 1975.

  • But the vast majority of people and private businesses still to this day used the English customary system.

  • And this is where the history lesson leads us back to the engineering disaster.

  • In 1999 as a U.

  • S.

  • Federal government agency, NASA uses the metric system to conduct all of their business.

  • But as a private business there, subcontractor Lockheed Martin was still using the customary system.

  • NASA explicitly specified in their contract that all of their subcontractors had to convert their measurements into metric.

  • But apparently Lockheed Martin looked at that and then decided that they wouldn't.

  • Lockheed Martin designed and built the satellite, but they provided NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with data from the onboard thrusters in units of force in pounds rather than in the metric Newton's.

  • The NASA engineers looked at Lockheed's data for the thrusters, noticed that it didn't say anywhere.

  • Hey, guys, customary units here.

  • And so they assumed that it was all in metric and just carried on.

  • The satellite was launched without anybody noticing that, And after 10 months of traveling and over $327 million being spent on the mission, or $523 million in today's money mawr than the combined annual salaries of 9000 average Americans, the satellite was destroyed in a matter of seconds.

  • The satellite was supposed to orbit Mars at a distance of 150 kilometers, but because of the conversion error in the thrusters, it actually descended down to just 57 kilometers above the Martian surface and proceeded to burn up in the atmosphere.

  • The lesson here is that math is equally difficult for everyone, and even highly trained scientists and engineers at the highest levels of their professions can sometimes make the simplest of mistakes that caused unbelievable amounts of damage.

  • The good news is that there's always a lesson in a mist ake.

  • You always learn how not to do it the next time and true to form.

  • NASA hasn't made a conversion error this catastrophic ever since.

  • So there's no reason to feel ashamed if math and engineering are concepts that you want to be better at but you're struggling with right now, I'm certainly not a scientist nor an engineer, But I am a fan of both disciplines, and I love learning more about them through courses like Brilliance Class on Gravitational Physics, which will teach you everything that you need to know about orbital mechanics and how to successfully get a satellite up in orbit without blowing it up.

  • Or you could complete one of brilliance daily challenges every day.

  • Brilliant presents you with interesting scientific and mathematical problems to test your brain, and each one provides you with the context and framework that you need to tackle it so that you learn the concepts by actually applying them.

  • And if you like the problem and want to learn mawr, there's a course quiz that explores the same concept in greater detail.

  • And if you get confused, there's an entire community of thousands of other learners discussing them and writing solutions.

  • Slow and steady, you could go from curiosity to mastery one day at a time.

  • So if you're feeling inspired and you like to spend your time educating yourself, go ahead and visit brilliant dot org's slash real life floor and sign up for free.

  • And the 1st 500 people to go to that link will also get 20% off of their annual premium subscription, which gives you access to all of their courses and challenges.

  • You can really learn a lot and support real life floor at the same time.

this video was made possible by brilliant learn, complex subjects simply at brilliant dot org's slash real life floor Math is hard, but at least you probably have never made a math mistakes that cost your company hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

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B1 metric metric system system satellite adopted math

How a Single Math Error Caused a $500 Million Satellite to Crash

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/11
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