Friday, February 27, 2009

The Mars Lander

I recently watched a show on PBS about the Mars Lander and noticed interesting similarities between what that science team does and what business metrics are all about. Business intelligence (BI) is a hot topic these days but I find that few customers really know what BI is about. Many install reporting solutions without any thought to why they’re doing it or what they’ll do with the information once they get it. They also don’t know the difference between information and noise. I’m particularly interested in noise because the internet is full of it and it’s negatively affecting my search experience. More on noise another day, I want to talk about the Mars Lander!

They Had A Goal

That’s a simple but profound statement. The Mars team knew they were in search of a specific thing. They wanted to find out about the possibility of life on Mars. Notice they didn’t want to find life on Mars, although that would have been a nifty thing. They just wanted to know if Mars was able at some time to support life.

What is life? This likely has different meanings depending on who you ask. Let’s keep an open mind and not limit this to humans. In fact living organisms span a broad range of creatures: two legged, finned, winged, air breathing, and many others. There’s a vast taxonomy and classification system that describes life as we know it. But we don’t know anything about life on Mars. What we do know are common traits as to what life needs in order to survive on this plant. Things like water, soil ph levels, temperature ranges and so on. So these are things that the Mars team decided to look for some 228 million kilometers away from Earth.

Have a goal in mind when you venture out on your voyage of discovery.

I have more to talk about concerning the Mars Lander and I hope you’ll visit again to read what I have to say.


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