Turn the switch on

This is just precious:

Idaho Professor Laments Forgotten Titan Experiment

David Atkinson spent 18 years designing an experiment for the unmanned space mission to Saturn. Now some pieces of it are lost in space. Someone forgot to turn on the instrument Atkinson needed to measure the winds on Saturn’s largest moon.

“The story is actually fairly gruesome,” the University of Idaho scientist said in an e-mail from Germany, the headquarters of the European Space Agency. “It was human error – the command to turn the instrument on was forgotten.”

The probe was to transmit data on two channels, A and B, Atkinson said. His Doppler wind experiment was to use Channel A, a very stable frequency.

But the order to activate the receiver, or oscillator, for Channel A was never sent, so the entire mission operated through Channel B, which is less stable, Atkinson said……..

That’s right.  They forgot to turn it on.  In the eight years Huygens/Cassini was in route, no one made a checklist of what all needed to be done when it got there.  NASA is examining what went wrong.  I think it’s simple.  Find who was responsible for Channel A and fire them.

Wonder whatever happened to the guy who forgot to convert metric to feet on the lost Mars mission?