NASA Loses the Mars Rover

Mars Rover

We’ve lost the Rover! NASA is embarrassed. They shouldn’t be; the little
machine is a zillion miles away. I have a hard time finding my screwdriver and flashlight though they are no more than 35 feet away from me, in the same house.

Might I help NASA? I got out my binoculars and peered at Mars. Nope, I
couldn’t find the lost robot either. Now I can really see what
their problem is. I hope they have better binoculars than mine. Maybe
if we had a neighborhood spotting party, where we got everybody’s
binoculars and duct-taped them in a row, we could see up there.

Losing the rover brings up a conspiracy. Have you heard from Al Gore lately?
A guy like him is hard to shake loose. If he were within shouting
distance of earth, we would be hearing from him. Giant radio
receivers are listening for signs of extra-terrestrial life and even
they haven’t heard from him. It is entirely possible that House
Republicans kept the space program alive, and refrained from shutting
down the government just for this purpose, so they could abduct Al,
stuff him inside the Rover and catapult him up to Mars, then feign
innocence when communication is terminated. I bet Al is inside.

I sympathize with NASA losing its link, for I use the internet. My
modem connection is like that. Sometimes I desperately want to
connect so I can check my spam and download viruses, but my internet
provider gnome is down. This normally happens at 5:01. The service
desk remains open until 5:00. Maybe NASA should consider a new
internet service provider. It would only take ten days and three
house calls from a $60/hour internet shaman to switch. Then they
could, like me, be sure not to miss any spam, static, or dating
service ads. Not to mention calls from the Rover.

When the Rover landed it was a big triumph. Then when the link was lost it stunk. But NASA’s public relations department, all 1,500 of them, glazed that burned cupcake. That the mission had gone so well to that point was a pleasant surprise, we were told. Why weren’t we told, when Congress budgeted for this that it would be surprising if it worked? I need a couple of their publicists to explain things to my banker.

You should feel richly rewarded”, I say, backed up by Arthur Anderson,
a retired NASA publicist.

Richly rewarded? You only made one of your 360 payments. And that was six
months ago!” says the bank president.

Look how far he got. Even getting his doors open in such a speculative
business was a major triumph,” Arthur says.

What do think this bank is, a dumb taxpayer?” the president says.
He thinks we should be embarrassed. But Arthur and I are hard to
embarrass. If not being able to find my goosedown coat in one of the two
closets in our home can’t shame me, a little tardiness in bank
payments shouldn’t either. As soon as I make payment number two,
I’ll call that a fabulous triumph.

I can learn from NASA. No failure is so great that a small success can’t
redeem it. When my wife rolls her eyes at having to find my wallet,
palm pilot, work keys, car keys, and toothbrush, I say, “But honey,
I found my own shirt. Don’t you think I did good? Now where was
that job application for NASA?”


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