Hitting a home run in a Chilean Mine.

The capsule carrying a rescued miner arrives to the surface from the collapsed San Jose mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile on Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia)

(picture from the Big Picture Blog’s constantly updating post)

By now, everyone has seen the awesome pictures of the (currently on going rescue) of the Chilean miners.

The Phoenix capsule, built by the Chilean Navy and partly designed by Nasa is a remarkable feat of engineering. The fact that it works, not just the first time, but the 23nd time and counting is astounding.

As a programmer – where engineering software is my day job – it puts things into perspective.

Very little of what I write works the first time (or the 23nd time, for that matter). I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to engineer something that 33 lives (more if you count the rescuers who went down in the capsule) would depend on, never mind that little intsy bitsy requirement of having to work the first time. The pressure must be immense.

I take off my hat to those engineers.

Earlier this week I listened to Episode 5 of This Developers Life. The episode is entitled simply “Home Run.”

That and these awesome, moving, emotional, heart-wrenching scenes got me thinking.

The home run those engineers just hit out of the park (I’m mixing sports metaphors up here, aren’t I?) with the Phoenix Capsule will be told and retold as if they were Babe Ruth legends.

In truth, it is a feat far, far more awesome.