Round 3 – Results! Future Trumps History

Where have you gone, Neil Armstrong?!!!!!!!!

Yes, Freedom 7 is still alive.  But history took a hit in the late hours last night as LRO blasted past Apollo 11 at 10 minutes to midnight.  LRO, the satellite that will eventually launch and study the Moon, beat the monumental, historic, manned mission to the Moon.  LRO will not deliver America’s most profound quote regarding accomplishment.  It will, however, bring boatloads of scientific data, images, and possibly a tournament trophy.

After sleeping for a few hours, I am over the shock.  It looks like SPB may have some real competition afterall.

I would love to talk about some of the other matchups, however, my analysis is becoming increasingly irrelavent as the competition progresses.  The only mission still alive on my bracket is Expedition 16, but I had them losing to STS-1. 

Check out the match ups and then get ready to vote.

LRO  vs  Freedom 7

Vikings I & II  vs  SOHO

SPB  vs  Orion

Expedition 16  vs  New Horizons

See the results for yourself here:

I’m so tempted to comment on these matchups, but I don’t want to jinx a mission.

The Co-Host

47 thoughts on “Round 3 – Results! Future Trumps History”

  1. On Mar 28, 2009 09:14:12 AM We are not in Kansas Toto wrote:

    “The SPB program is way too small to be driving the vote totals this high. It is obvious that “outsiders” are driving this and it is not all program employees driving the totals. In reading the techno-blogisphere ramblings,it appears that the plan was to prop up SPB up just to be smacked down later, but the plan went out of control. SPB now has a cult following that worships the big silver pumpkin. There was some discussion about the SPB payloads having mind control devices similar to the project Starshine that Wallops was involved in in 2001. Remember these SPBers are the same people.

    [very funny unauthorized web site]

    You all may want to put your Aluminum Foil Dedlector Beanies on after doing a little research. I am wearing mine….to keep me from voting for SPB but sometimes the physotronic forces are too great.
    P.S. Make your own beanies… the store bought ones have been manufactured by the government.”

    Note: Even when you make a case that a non NASA web site is a NASA site, we aren’t allowed to post it. This one could have been used on LOST.


    The Co-Host

  2. Re: Results, Round 3, Apollo 11 vs. LRO

    Although we all feel the monumental importance of
    the Apollo 11 mission, folks rose to the occasion
    for the one on the launch pad right now. Why?
    Because LRO will pave the way for the “next”
    Apollo 11 mission.


    Thank you for your hosting, Chris & Blair!


    Pat Kilroy
    NASA GSFC engineer

  3. Neil Armstrong is here in my house in England, weeping into his cup of tea over the unfairness of it all! And wondering why they bothered in the first place!

  4. I apollo-gise for some of my earlier comments. I did not mean to call the SPB a Silver Pumpkin. Sorry. You guys have done a wonderful job and returned some interesting data. The mission really does justify all this passion! (I’m not trying to be sarcastic!)

    I have had a relaxing day away from the Madness and will be completely back to normal by Monday. Then it will all begin again!!! Arghh…

    Now I’m pinning my hopes on Freedom 7 to make it to the final. In the words of Alan Shepherd, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me *mess* up.”

  5. can you tell me why we have human presence in space it cause they are cloneing babies in space since they cant do it here or is it that they have a alien an are up there keeping it alive cause i see no need to have human presence in space I feel as if ever rocket (satalite) an space shuttle that is blasted into space threw our ozone layer is causeing it to grow larger an nasa dont wanna admite up to it so the goverment blames it on co 2 gas

  6. Well employee voting combined with multi-voting means Mission Madness has little to do with public opinion about the missions. From the looks of it Mission Madness doesn’t have more than 3000 people voting for it (based on the idea that multi-voting was not common for most of the missions in the first round) so only a small number of people are needed for a mission to win. For instance I voted for MER about 600 times and on average I could vote about once every 7 seconds. A single person can vote over 500 times an hour and if they really want a program to win they can easily vote over 2000 times in 2 days. Now consider that programs like LRO, New Horizon, and SPB have dozens of employees and it is no surprise that Mission Madness has become an inter-NASA tournament.

  7. David….
    You managed to get away from the madness!!?? I try…but I kept getting pulled back into it!!!
    I will be voting for Freedom 7….and im getting all my friend to vote for it too!
    I tried to explain to my husband about the madness…he just looked at me as if I was the mad one!!! I think he maybe right!!!

  8. How was Mission Madness promoted to the public? Where and How were those in the general population to learn about Mission Madness?

    My friends didn’t know about it except through me, as NASA program.

  9. To #8 – Guest

    Mission Madness was promoted in several ways. Press release (NASA HQ), science centers, public schools across the country, social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter), NASA Watch, email blasts (internal and external), word of mouth etc.


  10. I am trying to keep a positive attitude about this, and I have voted in every round. But it is hard for me to justify calling most of the remaining missions as Nasa’s Greatest Mission of all time. I am now voting for the best of the rest and it just isn’t as satisfying. Sorry to all of the missions remaining (3 of which either haven’t launched or accomplished their goal yet).

    My favorites, Freedom 7, someone explain to me how a mission that MIGHT go to the moon and MIGHT send back important data exceeds Freedom 7 in any relevant category. Only in “potential ability to send back scientific data” could LRO win.

    Viking v. SOHO, is actually a great matchup that is one that I could expect and seems relatively unskewed by mission voting blocs. Although I favored Apollo 8, I like both SOHO and Viking. This is a tough call for me as it is comparing apples and oranges to an extent. I think I am going to go with Viking based on the difficulty of a soft landing on a planet and being a “first.”

    SPB v. ORION — I still think that any existing mission trumps a yet to fly mission, so I go with SPB (even though I personally think there are probably 8 better missions in this bracket than either of these two).

    New Horizons v. Expedition 16 — I like both missions, though they were not my top picks. New Horizons has done some interesting work as it went by Jupiter, but is still mostly potential. I am excited about its potential and could foresee it earning this position in future brackets, but seems a little early to be picking them over the steady experienced missions. Expedition 16 was historical, yes, but a lot of the “first-ness” of the mission had kind of worn off on me. These types of firsts lose “greatness” the more that happen. The first person to serve twice on the station, on long duration, to have 7 launches, to command two shuttle missions, etc. are interesting but don’t seem as important for this contest (to me). That being said, I am going with Expedition 16 as manned missions get my tie breaker.

    I look forward to the clever blogs.

    Paul Frickey
    Outsider, dreaming of being inside

  11. Boy this competition is really heating up. I wonder what NASA’s budget is for worn out keyboards and mice is????? 🙂

  12. Oh dear… Sorry Orion, You’re being sunk by the Silver Pumpkin Brigade!

    I was never a supporter of Orion in this competition, but I’m voting for it now. Not that it’ll do much good. Oh well. I’m so happy that Alan’s still flying high. But New Horizons still has a long way to go. I can’t think of a pun for the Vikings, but I’m sure there is one!

  13. It’s a battle royale as SPB and Orion slug it out. 10,000 votes cast combined in less than 5 hours. This looks to be a matter of who has the stamina to go through the night and not just the day. SPB has pulled out 53%-48% but they haven’t taken an insurmountable lead which might allow them to ease up on the pace. What will it take to win: 25,000 votes, 30,000? Stay tuned.

  14. *weeps* I went away for spring break and came back to…to THIS! To this (as a previous poster put it) great silver pumpkin running roughshod over EVERYTHING ELSE. I just…I can’t…my brain…

    Also: howhowhowhowHOW can anyone in good conscience vote LRO over Apollo 11? Sure, LRO is a very cool project, but, uh, it hasn’t launched yet. And on top of that, it beat out Hubble? Wha…? Need I point everyone to those gorgeous deep field photos?

    What really hurts, though, is that MER and MRO BOTH went down. I might have been able to take losing one of them (as I don’t think I’d have been able to choose between them, had it come to that), but both? It’s a cruel, cruel world out there, guys.

    I’m just gonna go sob into my cheerios now. Wake me up next year so I can start my MER campaign early.

  15. Hey Host,

    Has the voting process been intentionally slowed down to help curb multiple voting? It seems the webpage is loading MUCH slower than in previous rounds? Is anyone else experiencing this? Just wondering.

  16. Me again. Okay, so I’ve recovered (somewhat) and mulled over a lunch of reheated pizza, and I’d just like to toss out a couple suggestions for next year (that’s all I have now, since every single one of my picks is dead and gone now. Great.). I know you said you can’t do anything about the multiple voting issue, and that’s understandable. But I think it’d be much, much more helpful if you put the more well-known names instead of the mission abbreviations in the brackets. I’m convinced that had “MER” read “Mars rovers” instead, they would have swept at least the first couple rounds. Likewise with a few other missions.

    Second, another poster suggested two separate categories, one for historical and present missions, and one for missions that haven’t launched yet. I know that’d make more work for you guys, but just think: double the insomnia-laden madness for all of us! It’ll be fun.

    Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone that it’s just a game. No one gets anything out of it other than bragging rights if their respective favorites perform well. I’m as upset as any about the way most of my picks have gone down, but at the same time, you have to remember that all of these are tremendous missions and fundamentally important in their own right. Much as I might poke fun at the Great Pumpkin, and as flabbergasted as I am that Apollo 11 lost (I am a history major, after all, so old stuff matters to me!), I’m really glad to see so many people care about this and that evidently some groups are so very passionate about their work. It’s fine to joke about Balloongate and come up with wild scenarios about followers of the Pumpkin Cult and sociopathic MER-haters, but when it’s all said and done you should still be able to look at the winner and go, “Well, it might not have been what I wanted or expected to win, but it was a good show, and who knows what further, even more fascinating developments this mission’s research might lead to?”

    tl;dr, I know. Long story short: don’t worry, be happy.

  17. @David Hartley UK:

    “I can’t think of a pun for the Vikings, but I’m sure there is one!”

    They’re sailing toward Valhalla! Wait…maybe that’s not so great. Hmm.

  18. As a student of history you should now support SPB. The science ballooning began in 1783. How many programs have historical roots that old? Go ahead and lend your support to the underdog. The big programs have all had their time in the spotlight with lots of news coverage. The programs like Orion and LRO will in turn have their day in the sunshine. Just think of how proud you will make the small team at Wallops feel when they can carry their head a little higher knowing that they do have some supporters out there. They need to know we really do think their type of research is important. Amanda, push that button for SPB and you will feel good about yourself and maybe even sleep a litte better tonight.

  19. The contest organizers have altered the game by requiring that the web pages be downloaded each time you vote… a bandwidth intensive operation which limits voting frequency at facilities where a lot of people are trying to vote. Is it really fair to change the rules in the middle of the game?

    In the words of General Buck Turgidson… “Mr President, I’m beginning to smell a great big commie rat!”

  20. It has become painfully obvious to me that someone has made good on their threat to notify the Office of the President of the US concerning their displeasure with Mission-Madness. Obama must have assigned an “oversight” Czar to the Mission-Madness game whose first official act was to slow the voting process down to the level of a “SNAIL’s -CRAWL”.

  21. Just a note to multiple posts…

    There has been no change in the way pages are loaded. The only changes made in the game are with the captcha, which has actually changed with every round of voting.

    Perhaps the slow down has to do with high vote volume. I am not certain, but I want to stress that there has been no change in the internal structure of the flash application.

    All the best,

    The Co-Host

  22. The 1969 New York Mets and the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team are classic examples of underdogs rising to the occasion. SPB was poised to repeat history before the contest organizers changed the rules in mid-stream.

    For shame. Nonetheless… SPB is NASA’s Mouse That Roared.

  23. Everyone

    Just to clarify the Co-host’s point about changes in play – there are no changes in play except for the captcha which has changed every round.

    NE Host

  24. To Cranston Snord:

    To claim that we should all vote Silver Pumpkin just because balloons have been around for ages is “Madness” indeed.

    I think, if you care to check, that rockets have been around since ancient Chinese started putting gunpowder in a tube because it seemed like a fun thing to do at the time. Of course, not many of them were around for long after they’d done that! BANG!!

    VOTE for Freedom!!

    (I still havn’t been able to come up with a pun for the Vikings. Something along the line of: I’m diggin them? No. It’s poor, I know.)

  25. Look, this is ORION we’re talking about here! There is no contest here.

    You can go ballooning, I’m going to the moon.

  26. Is cache control set to no store new in your http code or has that been there all along? Seems that would slow things to the grinding halt that we are seeing now.

  27. I understand that “…there has been no change in the internal structure of the flash application…”. What about the html code?
    Perhaps something with regard to the ability to cache. Something drastic changed this morning and the speed at which the voting page reloads dropped by several orders of magnitude. The voting rate does not appear to be that much higher than before the slow-down. Also, at my work location a very small number of PC’s did not experience the slow-down until their cache was cleared or their browser restarted. That alone makes it impossible to accept that it’s a traffic problem. I have experienced this reduction both from my work connection and my home DSL connection. Is anyone else experiencing this unexplained phenom?

  28. #27 & #28

    I submitted a couple of votes this evening on my desktop and work laptop at home and did not experience slow reloads. It’s nothing on our end, but it may be the NASA servers.


  29. I have to say that despite the assurance that only the verification system has been changed I too have noticed that the voting bracket loads every single time I go to it. I tested it out about a dozen times and on average I could vote about once every 25 seconds which is over triple the amount of time it took me to vote in earlier rounds.

  30. Time just seems slow when SPB is in the lead.

    Is there any truth to the rumor that the server for this game resides in the same building as SPB works out from? Somehow, some way they are to blame for this issue.

  31. It is interesting that there once was concern about people voting too often now there are complaints that it takes 25 seconds vs 7.2437263 seconds…. but who’s counting 🙂

  32. I have experienced a significant slow-down. It began towards the end of voting in the last round. I have not timed how long each vote takes to submit, and the results page to load, but it does seem to be getting longer (slower).

    If only this game weren’t so flippin’ addictive. I can’t believe how close the voting is in the quarter finals. I told my wife I was only going on for half an hour. Oh dear, looks like I’ll be in the bad books again. I can’t leave now!

    Vote for Freedom!!

  33. Is it time for SOHO to go-go?
    Will the LRO fail to reach orbit?
    Has the SPB sprung a leak?
    Are the Expedition 16 crew going home?

    Who is the weakest link?

    (BTW, Vote for FREEDOM!!)

  34. David…

    My other half works away during the week…so I can sit here and vote to my hearts content!!!! Mind you, kids dont get fed, house looks like a tip, ive not seen daylight for days now, the outside world is but a distant memory, I have no knowledge of what is going on in the real world, ive become a slave to the mission madness!!

    ps…im voting Freedom too!!!

  35. I can’t believe how close it’s getting in the Semifinals.

    Thanks to Sam and the other 9000 or so who are VOTING FOR FREEDOM!! Maybe if we can get some of the Orion or SPB people over to the LRO/Freedom match, it’d be a cinch!

    I’ll just say again, I have no problem with the SPB mission. It’s the whole multiple-voting thing that gets my goat. (This from someone who has spent 2 hours VOTING FOR FREEDOM tonight!!!)

    RSI in right shoulder and a wife who went up to bed half an hour ago are forcing me to quit now. It’s 23:14 in the UK now. OK, it’s up to you guys on the other side of the Atlantic to keep VOTING FOR FREEDOM!!! (Can we make this a catch-phrase? I see a future for T-shirts, car stickers.. etc)

  36. David, The SPB program is tiny, the STS group, and Mars groups are huge. If you limit it to one vote then the small groups have zero chance. This way the contest is about who is the most enthusiastic about their program, and about NASA. What’s wrong with that?

  37. post 38, the problem is that Mission Madness was supposed to be about what the public thought about the missions. Mission Madness was promoted as a “public opinion tournament” and “what the public will think”. Mission Madness was not promoted as an inter-NASA tournament in which employees multi-vote for their own mission.

  38. Drake, #39. Yes, that’s exactly what I’ve been saying all along.

    guest #38. See #39 for further deatails.

    I did suggest in one of my increasingly prolific posts that there be two competitions: one for NASA employees and one for the general public. But with the NASA rules on email confidentiality, this would be impossible to police. I can, however, repeat myself by saying: I have no problem with the SPB mission. It is not, however, the general public’s idea of the greatest mission ever. (Although how I can speak on behalf of about 6 million people is open to debate!!)

    Seriously though, I am devastated that the likes of Apollo 11, Freedom 7 the Mars Rovers and ALL THE SHUTTLE MISSIONS (!) have been eliminated over 3 missions which have yet to achieve their aims! It makes a mockery of the contest’s advertised aims. This was never supposed to be a competion to find out which mission had the most dedicated followers, but that is what it turned into. And as a result, was ever so slightly less interesting than it could have been.

  39. Full agreement. When the event was first posted and before voting began, I expressed enthousiasm to participate and see how the public viewed the various general categories (man v. robot, earth v. sun v. moon v. planets, aero v. astro, etc). Of course it became clear off the bat that it was not to be. I used the term “hijacked” early on to describe what happened and still feel that. I will admit, however, nobody did anything against the rules, I think just against the spirit of what the contest was about.

    Nevertheless, I have continued to participate and will probably vote in the Final Four. I stand by my proven missions over yet to be proven missions so I will vote for SOHO and SPB (and then SOHO over SPB, though I realize that is unlikely to happen).

    Thanks NASA EDGE for a great idea. I will continue to throw out the idea for a requirement that the entire bracket be filled out.

  40. To David and Paul F.

    Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. We will address all the concerns and suggestions next week. I will also share my own personal thoughts on the ideal outcome vs. the actual outcome of this tournament. This has been a fun learning experience from all ends of the spectrum. Thank you for your support.

    NE Host

  41. Chris,

    If this competition has achieved one thing it is this: my wife has had something to complain about that did not involve decorating the kitchen or gardening! (However, this morning, she asked me whether Freedom had got through. You see, people TRY to be uninterested but it’s impossible not to be.)

    My poor nerves are shattered. Because of the time difference, I have to leave just as it starts getting interesting at the end of each round. Is there any way of having each round finish at about 10pm UK time? (I know what the answer will be: there’s more chance of SPB not winning!!!)

    Did you ever imagine that it would generate this amount of interest? Thanks for a fascinating contest.

  42. Mish wrote:

    “SPB now has a cult following that worships the big silver pumpkin. There was some discussion about the SPB payloads having mind control devices similar to the project Starshine that Wallops was involved in in 2001. Remember these SPBers are the same people.”

    Note – We can’t use external links due to NASA rules and regulations.

    The Co-Host

  43. “SBP programme is really tiny.”

    Note – We can’t use external links due to NASA rules and regulations.


    The Co-Host

Comments are closed.