NASA admits pulling a 'Scotty' with Mars Rovers
on 8/7/2004 (1)
With the twin Mars rovers approaching or surpassing their 200th SOL on Mars, NASA engineers reveal a somewhat geekish secret.
|"Captain! In 4 hours the ship blows up! In 8 hours I'll join 'ya!" |
NASA Mars rover design engineer Joe Melko, suppressing a mischevious smile, explains
"Well, we've been telling the media that the twin Mars rovers were designed to last a hundred days, and that every day after that is an added unexpected bonus, but now that we've gone beyond the 200th day mark with Spirit, I think it's time we offer a more accurate explanation."
Melko took a stack of Star Trek photos from his desk, picking one showing the original Star Trek character Mister Scott talking to a younger actor
"Remember this episode? Mister Scott is explaining to the young engineer how to come across as a miracle worker. He says something like: 'Tell the captain it will take you 3 hours to fix the problem, lad, when you know it will only take about 1. That way, when you leisurely fix it in 2, you'll still come across as a miracle worker!'"
Melko took out a pair of wax Spock ears and put them on, giving the 'live long and prosper' symbol with his right hand
"Err...well, we did the same thing. We knew the twin rovers might even last a year on Mars, so we pulled a Scotty, so we'd look like heroes. We got the idea at a Star Trek convention in Orlando a few years back."
If nothing else, America's brilliant NASA engineers have once again illustrated their almost superhumanlike genius, -along with more than a trifle of geekishness-, but genius nonetheless.
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