Expensive Hardware Lobbing

By on May 9, 2005

It’s the newest extreme sport: Expensive Hardware Lobbing.

The object: Get your multi-million dollar space probe to explore another planet without crapping out before it can do the job.

The players: Earth’s space-faring nations, and all other planets in the solar system.

The rules: There are only four major ones. The first three are Newton’s laws of motion. The fourth is Murphy’s Law.

Welcome Space Sports fans! As you are well aware, Earth is currently the underdog in the solar system division in the Expensive Hardware Lob (overseen by the Planetary Satellite League). For every piece of hardware that returns useful information from the Lobbee’s planet, the Lobber scores a point. For every piece of hardware sucessfully thwarted by the Lobbee […], they score a point.


Venera 3 “landed” on Venus on 1966 March 1 making it the first probe to “land” on the surface of another planet. It carried a radio communication system, scientific instruments, electrical power sources, and medallions bearing the coat of arms of the U.S.S.R. None of these things do you much good when you “land” on another planet.

Reading this I was amazed by how many space probes Russia blew up before they even managed to leave orbit. They apparently had a “grind ‘em till you find ‘em” approach to space exploration.