More Martian dumbness: NASA drew a giant WHAT on the red planet?

The other day my wife ordered a latte – which she then had to photograph because of the way the coffee and soy happened to mix, a kind of ‘ooer, that looks a bit rude’ shape, if you looked at it the right way.

The point being that NASA has been getting stick for apparently drawing the same thing. Thing, I did say ‘thing’, didn’t I? A sand drawing, with its Spirit rover, right there on the Martian pud, I mean pug.

Of course, by the time I went to check the JPL site, the pic had been replaced by this one... Public domain, NASA.

Of course, by the time I went to check the JPL site, the pic had been replaced by this one… Public domain, NASA.

Purely accidental. Honestly, officer. (“Pfft, chortle, ooer, that looks a bit rude“).

OK, so if ”paredoilia’ is seeing faces in random patterns, what’s the word when people perceive what in old Devonshire dialect was a ‘tallywag’, outlined in Martian tyre trails (but only if you look at it sideways).

The good news? In 2023, four lucky people will get the chance to see NASA’s – er – artwork in person. Maybe. A Dutch fellow is looking for people to go on a one-way trip. Unlike Denis Tito’s  plan for a couple to spend a 501-day marital sojourn in a Dragon capsule, lining the walls with their own excrement, this one will involve landing on Mars. Also in modified Dragon that, I suspect, would be like living in a 1960s police phone box which, alas, wasn’t bigger on the inside.

Taking off again? Uh…no…

Conceptual artwork by Pat Rawlings of a Mars mission rendezvous from 1995. NASA, public domain, via Wikipedia.

Conceptual artwork by Pat Rawlings of a Mars mission rendezvous from 1995. NASA, public domain, via Wikipedia.

Which means the life support system has to last forever. I expect it’ll be made of duct tape. Eventually. Oh – and the voyage’s going to be turned into reality TV.

Would I go? Plus side…

1. I’d be on a different planet from Justin Bieber and his monkey.

2. It would get me on TV along with re-runs of The World’s Greatest Loser.

3. You don’t have to line the walls with your own excrement like Tito’s crew.

4. If I wanted to be called the next Jeddak of Barsoom, I’d be in the right place, unlike now when they all look at me funny.

5. I’d get a front row seat for the next ‘NASA drawing’ on Mars.

But I have to say that the green hills of Earth are looking pretty good about now.

Would you go on a one-way trip to Mars? And what do you think NASA should draw next on the Red Planet?

 Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

9 comments on “More Martian dumbness: NASA drew a giant WHAT on the red planet?

  1. bevrobitai says:

    At the moment I’m just thankful that NASA isn’t funding its work by drawing commercial logos on the lunar surface. Wait, is that a Nike swoosh? No, it’s spelling something… C o c a- oh no!

  2. wordpress123 says:

    I can’t imagine who would want to go to their deaths in this way. I mean once you got there and you had the ‘Wow!’ for a while, it would soon wear off when you realised death was imminent. Not for me thanks.

  3. kokkieh says:

    Heh? I don’t see it. Does that mean I have not yet lost my innocence? I think if there is any intelligent life out there, they’ll take one look at the earth and make a u-turn. Or blow us up – can’t risk this lot spreading through the galaxy.

    While going to Mars might be quite an experience, I’d very much want to come back. I hear the broadband up there is slower than dial-up! Though you make a strong argument regarding the Bieber. Have to reconsider.

    Kudos on the Doctor Who reference.

  4. A *one way* trip to Mars is as dumb as what NASA does with its equipment up there. Sheesh! That’s what American tax dollars pay for? I’d rather my tax dollars be spent on preserving the habitats for wild animals on this planet. Are you listening NASA?!

    • To me it’s not either-or, but both. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve got to save some pretty large swathes of wild-life from the effects of what we’re doing to the planet – there is not a lot of time left when you consider we’re down to around 3000 wild tigers as just one example. That’s just criminal when you consider the extent to which they used to flourish. And it’s going to cost.

      There are some major programmes going on here in NZ to do just this – our Department of Conservation is very serious about keeping offshore island predator-free so that NZ’s unique native bird populations can re-grow. We’ve dragged the Takahe back from the absolute brink of extinction (barely a breeding population) and are looking to improve the lot of others. Down side is that the department has also just had the boot put through it by the government, trying to save money.

      That said, I think we’re getting some pretty cool science out of the robots, when they’re not used to – uh – create rude graffiti on other planets – and it’s telling us a good deal about how our own world works….all of which is grist to the mill when it comes to trying to save the environment. If the US is going to have a space programme at all, I think the money is far better spent on robot exploration, just now, than trying to persist with manned spaceflight.

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