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9 of the most expensive typos in the world

There’s no such thing as a harmless typo.

2. NASA’s exploding hyphen
2. NASA’s exploding hyphen
Getty Images

It was 1962: America’s space race against the Soviet Union was in full flight, and NASA was preparing to launch Mariner 1, an $18.5 million probe bound for Venus on the nation’s very first planetary mission.

Official accounts dispute what caused the prodigious probe to veer dangerously off course seconds after launch - some cite a missing hyphen in the guidance code, others a missing decimal - but the results are well documented.

Mariner 1 lost contact, lost control, and was ordered to be blown up 293 seconds after launch.

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke dubbed the missing punctuation “the most expensive hyphen in history.” 

Cost of blunder: $18.5 million in 1962 dollars (nearly $150 million today)

Need to up your texting game? Every grammar nerd will love these tricks that finally perfect your punctuation.



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