The NASA Space Program is very exciting! Just ask the Mars Spirit Rover: Thanks to the NASA Space Program, Spirit has spent five long, tedious years totally marooned on Mars.
If you do the math, that's more than EIGHTEEN HUNDRED days stuck on a mission that –– by the way –– was originally slated to last only 90 days. So Spirit has been there more than TWENTY TIMES longer than expected which, if you stop and think about it, means I have done two complicated math equations in one paragraph, or I am basically a NASA scientist now.
Spirit's mission –– as part of the overall NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission –– has been to study the history of water on Mars. Well, of course. What else would you look for if you were on Mars?
"Um...What??": Wildly popular everywhere in the universe!*
But honestly? Ninety days? To study the water on a barren, desert planet that almost doesn't have any? Shouldn't that take like zero time at most? OH, WHAT DO I KNOW? I've only been a NASA scientist for a few minutes so far.
Unfortunately, the answer to the little rover's question was the same then as it is today: NO. Because Spirit still had a 90-day 1800-day totally long-a$$ mission to complete! (OH WHATEVER. EVEN NASA SCIENTISTS CAN ONLY COUNT SO HIGH.) So all these years later Spirit is still left wandering around on the Martian landscape which, according to abcnews.com is "a cold, hostile place, far away from home."
Huh. I hadn't really thought of it that way until now.
What's next, ABC News? Online videos of baby seals being bludgeoned?
At first I was all, I CANNOT FUNCTION I AM WAY TOO SAD and then I was all OH MY GOD HOW CUTE IS THE SPIRIT ROVER WAS HE DESIGNED BY DISNEY and then I was all FOCUS, LESLEY, REMEMBER THE SAD and then I was all WAIT A DAMN MINUTE because of the way I suddenly realized just how similar Spirit and I are, where similar equals I think I might be a part of the NASA rover program? And no one bothered to tell me? THAT IS TOTALLY MESSED UP. NASA.
And so was born this brief overview of Spirit's mission thus far, as compared and contrasted with my own personal effort to survive my current predicament, or Mission OMGWTF:
MAIN MISSION OBJECTIVES:
Also: Notice how there's a empty line of space above "To look for proof of life...?" This is called as hard as I try and try, I can't figure out how to override the damn auto-formatting that keeps randomly popping up here or science is obviously useless.
MISSION TEAM MEMBERS:
Spirit has hundreds of people back here on earth supporting its mission on Mars including scientists and professors and drivers and navigation managers and robotic engineers and orbital engineers and even a Knowledge Engineer. (I am totally one of these myself.) (Like I even have to explain this.)
I've got people supporting me too, you know –– helping me do things like navigating around tough terrain, cleaning off some of the sh*t dust that lands on me on a daily basis and prompting me to perform various diagnostic tests on my many systems, such as when Chris says things to me like, "What the hell is WRONG with you??" Oh! I'm not sure...let me check! Just because I'm sometimes 100% certain I'm totally alone, doesn't mean I actually am. I guess. Or so people tell me. I don't really know for sure though. OH WHATEVER.
Me: "If you love me you will all put on these glasses."
Team OMGWTF: [Collective blank staring.]
Me: "But I've seen scientists wear these. SCIENTISTS."
Team OMGWTF: [More collective blank staring.]
Me: "OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I HAVE NO IDEA BUT JUST PUT THE DAMN THINGS ON."
MISSION CHALLENGES SO FAR:
But Spirit –– the little rover that could –– has since regained its faculties and after a series of successful diagnostic tests is once again moving around normally, where normally equals "OHMYGOD I AM SO LONELY CAN I PLEASE COME HOME NOW HAAAALLLLLLP!!!???"
Also fraught with difficulties and setbacks. My navigation controls are clearly broken as I all I seem to do is constantly go in circles until I'm just this side of vomiting. Also broken? EVERYTHING ELSE. My reserves are low (energy, endurance, resolve, vodka) and my outlook is even lower. Just like Spirit, I've also lost my mind, but that was somewhere back around day #568 and big fat deal: I've been functioning just fine without it ever since. Obviously, BECAUSE DID I MENTION I'M A NASA SCIENTIST NOW?!
Oh. And by the way? This:
BUT MOSTLY VODKA.
Because all of the smart, sciencey people follow NASA on Twitter.
Considering I just received the above tweet, I'd say things in the immediate future are looking up for Spirit. Long term is another story, however, since –– in case no one here has figured this out yet –– there's no way to get Spirit back home once it's done with its mission.
It's the elephant in the living room nobody really talks about: Spirit has been sent on a one-way trip to (you know what's coming, right??) a cold, hostile place, far away from home. In the end –– after all it's endured and after all the challenges it's risen above and after all of the pictures it's taken and data it's collected and work that it's done for all of us –– it will be left to slowly shut down and eventually disintegrate into the Martian landscape.
Actually, I may not completely understand the details of the mission's end since I can't find them spelled out anywhere. Not to mention I have no idea if shut-down robots left on Mars actually disintegrate. As disintegration is not my scientific specialty and whatnot. But you know I'm right because have you ever heard of even ONE Robot Rescue Mission anywhere? And I would TOTALLY pay more taxes for that kind of thing because, you know, SAD. And even if I'm wrong about all of this JUST NEVER MIND because that would only ruin this part of my post and I can do that kind of thing without anyone's help.
Yeah. Just like Spirit, I was pretty much jettisoned to my current locale without any kind of plan to get me safely back out either. OOPSIE! But, you know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. OH OF COURSE IT DIDN'T.
Anyway. Against all odds –– because against all odds is WHAT I DO –– I'm not giving up. And besides: The whole landscape could change soon since President Obama is set to appoint a new head of NASA any day now. A few key names are being bandied about, but I think we all know who the obvious choice is here:
Because William Shatner was an admiral in Starfleet, people. I mean do I really have to explain this?
Help get Spirit and me safely home, Admiral William Shatner. You're our only hope.
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P.S.S. Yesterday when Mo and I were talking about this post (YES I SUBJECT HER TO THAT KIND OF CRAP ALL THE TIME), she said, "A dead porcupine belly-up with XX's in his eyes? On Mars? I know it all now. You don't have to finish." For those of you who wish I'd listened to her, TOO BAD I apologize.