Nasa’s anouncing plans to send multiple missions to various unexplored areas of the moon. From the mountains to the poles and more. Previous missions landed on the plains of the moon.

How does this relate to Knowledge Management?

One of the glorified examples of poor knowledge management comes from tales of the space race. Whether or not the stories are urban legend is uncertain. However, for a couple decades now, people have discussed how NASA was able to successfully make it to the moon. In their race and haste to get there, signficant amounts of knowledge and raw information were lost.

Many notes of the time were lost to the ages, through poor document retention or failure to keep good notes on changes in iterations of various plans. As the story goes, by the 1980’s the US had lost the technical ‘know how’ to put a person back on the moon again. We were basically having to relearn by experiement and trial and error, what we had collectively figured out 10-20 years earlier.

Now in 2006 we are looking to take this relearned knowledge and make the great attempt again. Hopefully, this time in the modern digital era we will be able to retain the documents. The new peril to the knowledge however may come in the form of managing the massive amount of documents and notes that will be generated. In years past, its stated that the documents or lead from the paper notes degraded into a state that could not be read. The hay stack rotted.

We will now have to cope with finding a needle in what will probably be a much more massive hay stack, which will continue to grow and may never rot.

Maybe NASA will recognize the value of their effort and look at their budgetary limitations and come up with the epiphany of selling product placement ads.

Ergo Tang, Flextronics, Motorola etc.

Whomever, gets a product in use on the moon could end up with bragging rights for another 30 years???

Nasa to put man on far side of moon – Sunday Times – Times Online
Moon Tripnasaknowledge management