Mars probe makes shocking discovery
NASA officials today reported an astonishing breakthrough
in the search for signs of life on Mars. The discovery of
a previously unknown Wal-Mart on the Martian surface is being
hailed as clear evidence that the mysterious red planet may
harbor an advanced race of beings capable of obtaining duct
tape for 99 cents.
However, scientists admit to being baffled by the unexpected finding
made by the U.S. space rover Spirit.
"We thought we might find a trace of gray hematite, an iron
oxide mineral that forms in environments where water is present.
Water, of course, being necessary to support life," said Dr.
Fred Houston. "Nobody dreamed we'd stumble across a commercial
structure that suggests the presence of an intelligent life form
with access to a galaxy of material goods at reasonable prices."
Several leading astro-economists theorize that other businesses
may have once existed nearby but disappeared in the shadow of the
dominant Wal-Mart. According to unconfirmed reports, the robotic
probe may also have detected a fragment of fossilized styrofoam
emblazoned with the words "Quarter-Pounder with Cheese."
A Wal-Mart jet propulsion specialist would "neither confirm
nor deny" the presence of a superstore on Mars, but said the
company makes no secret of its desire to cover two-thirds of the
earth's surface with retail space.
Some NASA team members suspect Wal-Mart may ultimately be seeking
to squeeze the space agency out of business by selling robotic space
rovers for $19.95 instead of the NASA pricetag of $800 million.
Bush suffering from Venus envy?
By John Breneman
A White House speechwriter who helped President Bush craft
his vision for rededicating America to space exploration said
today he is ecstatic the president took his advice not to
deliver the address wearing a NASA flightsuit and astronaut
on Wednesday outlined a plan to build a permanent outpost on the
lunar surface and to use it as a base for manned expeditions to
Mars. The speech writer, who claims he also persuaded Bush not to
joke that he is "itching to explore Uranus," offered some
insight into what prompted the president's sudden interest in outer
On Tuesday, the president walked past a TV displaying images of
the Mars space rover and asked, "What's that thing?" When
an aide informed him of NASA's mission to explore Mars, Bush reportedly
Intrigued, the president stayed up late watching reruns of "Star
Trek" and The Jetsons." The next morning he arrived at
the Oval Office buzzing with ideas and telling Cabinet officials
he was eager "to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where
no man has gone before." When told that his dad proposed the
same exact thing back in 1989 but gave up when it got too expensive,
Bush squinted and replied, "Oh."
The president forged ahead with his politically courageous "pro-space"
stance despite what he called "cry-baby talk" from critics
who said he might want to first address the mounting federal deficit
and domestic issues like health care.
In the speech he pledged $1 billion to NASA, along with an additional
$200,000 if the space agency promised to hire 15 Mexican janitors
by the year 2006. The president also named former astronaut John
Glenn the nation's first "Space Czar." Bush said mankind
is destined to explore space to help satisfy "the human thirst
for knowledge," and for delicious Tang.
The president concluded, "We choose
to explore space because doing so improves our lives and lifts our
national spirit. And by the way, anyone who doesn't support my space
plan is a friggin' terrorist."
Back to PAGE ONE