If You Don't Understand an Environment, Provide 'Well-Margined' Capabilities to Encompass the Worst Case

Mars Exploration Rover designers responded to a high level of uncertainty regarding Martian winds by providing a set of small, sideways-pointing rockets and adding a capability to directly sense horizontal motion. This redesign to reduce the risk that the lander would graze Martian terrain during the landing was made only 1.5 years before launch. Assure rigorous assessment of environmental risks, and design to counter the critical risks with substantial margin.

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