On December 11, 1998 NASA launched the Mars Climate Orbiter Probe on a 9.5 month, 416 million mile journey where it would study the climate, atmosphere, and surface changes on Mars. On September 23, 1999 the Mars Climate Orbiter Probe began its planned orbital insertion maneuver. Four minutes after the main engine burn began, communication was lost with the Probe and it was never reestablished. By September 25, 1999 the mission was declared a loss.
According to the Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board Phase I Report, “The spacecraft trajectory was approximately 170 kilometers lower than planned. As a result, MCO either was destroyed in the atmosphere or re-entered heliocentric space after leaving Mars’ atmosphere.”
What would have caused the orbiter to do that?
When you think about other world religions, they all have some prophet or messenger who was delivering an important message – either from god or how to reach god. And eventually all of these prophets and messengers died. Buddha died in 949 BC. Confucius died in 479 BC. Mohamed died in 632 AD. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, died in 1844. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, died in 1910.
None of those religious leaders died and then came back to life. All of the followers of those religions agree that those people are still dead to this day.
But in Christianity, the religious leader claimed to actually be God Himself. Then He died and three days later resurrected, and 40 days later ascended into Heaven.
With the election coming up, we need to take a moment to think through some important principles about the United States Presidential election.
1. Politics are important to religion. Many people within the church try their best to stay out of political discussions. Honestly, in this kind of political climate, who can blame them? But as believers, we can’t shy away from politics because politics directly affect our ability to practice religion.
When I first started working at NASA, it was overwhelming to see what all I needed to learn about the design of a launch vehicle, especially as a systems engineer. Since my job was to find any issues in the interfaces between systems, I needed to have some understanding of how each system worked. However, I was not an expert in every launch vehicle system. I didn't know the computer programming, or propulsion systems, or even the structural analyses for this particular vehicle. So I sat down with the engineers of each launch vehicle system to get a crash course in their design.
As I was learning, I found I could understand the design concept before I knew all the right technical terms. But that didn't change the reality or the truth about the design. It is like a child who doesn't know the term "gravity," yet they still recognize that things fall to the ground when they are dropped. The concept of gravity is the same, even if they call it by a different name -- or don't even know what name to call it!
It is the same way when we come to this question about sin.