NASA Plan to Return to the Moon
The parent's right: reducing risk is expensive.
Coincidentally, last night I watched a History Channel DVD about the race to the moon. On Apollo 11, the first moon landing, we almost failed *three times* just before landing.
The first time, the onboard computer became overloaded. A 25-year-old engineer at capcom had to make the go/no-go decision.
Then, the lunar module was coming down much too quickly; luckily, it was still an "acceptable" level.
Then, because they came down too fast, they overshot the landing spot. They only had three minutes of fuel to find a new landing spot as they hurtled over a surface filled with house-sized boulders. The Eagle finally landed with 15 seconds of fuel left.
At least three incidents that could just as easily have turned into failure and/or tragedy. Could we stomach that today?