What do you get when you mix Mad Men styling, IKEA how-to, and NASA high tech?  In an incredibly terse 1 minute and 28 seconds, with no sound needed, NASA asks "So, You Want to Build a Satellite?" and explains why rocket science is hard.  Seriously, this is the sort of video that you don't need sound, and it features no talking heads or chatty scientists.  It's an elegant, straightforward wake-up call about the intrinsic difficulties that space exploration brings.

For picosatellites like Project Calliope, we can take a more homebrew view.  Our lifetime is 3 months tops, and we're fire-and-forget.  For a large mission such as MAVEN, representing a huge effort just to get the satellite all the way to Mars, errors such as falling apart in space are simply not an option.

Kudos to the MAVEN team for creating this catchy primer, and for clearly explaining why space is both hard and do-able.  All it takes is smarts and willpower.


p.s. a tip of the hat to Heather Diehl for pointing me to this video!

Launching Project Calliope, sponsored by Science 2.0, in 2011

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