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Landing on the moon with Excel 2010

Microsoft’s promotional videos for Office 2010 continue with a video showing how Apollo 11 could have been made.

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Following Microsoft’s remaking of the US Declaration of Independence we now have a marketing video showing how NASA could have made the moon shots with Excel 2010.

It shows how weight was the most important factor in the design and planning of the launches.

In Microsoft’s world, the Saturn V rocket came together using Instant Messaging, Excel Sparklines, Graphs and Sliders.

It didn’t of course. The first spreadsheet, as we think of them, was Visicalc in 1981 though there were mainframe predecessors.

Looking back, it’s amazing that something as complex as the Saturn V, Command, Service and Lunar Modules were produced by separate companies yet still worked together. This done in an era of paper plans and slide-rules with none of the modern collaboration or calculation techniques.

We’ve always thought it strange that Microsoft hasn’t made more of NASA’s use of Outlook in orbit on the Shuttle and International Space Station. Maybe NASA’s use of Outlook 2003 is a bit old-fashioned or the unusual way of delivering email is a bit embarrassing?

Article posted: Tuesday, 19 July 2011

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