Now It Wheels, Now It Doesn’t, Now It . . .
We had to choke back a tear yesterday when we heard that Mars Rover Spirit, one of the rarest and most expensive off-road vehicles in history (total cost: $800 million, nearly as much as our Teal Brute) was being put into mothballs---more accurately, into deep hibernation for the near future. The reason? To cut $4 million from NASA’s incredible shrinking budget. Well, that was yesterday . . .
Today NASA announced that the order has been rescinded, that the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity(lame names; couldn’t JPL have come up with something more manly? How about Siegfried and Wotan?) will be free to continue roaming and wheeling the Martian backcountry---which is the whole planet, come to think of it---scooping up soil samples, probing the atmosphere, and doing whatever it is that Mars Rovers do naturally. While we’re glad to hear this, we were going to petition NASA to let us have Spirit on loan for a few weeks if they weren’t planning to use it. After all, we know our way around pricey project rigs, we’ve got plenty of places to ‘wheel it . . . and heck, we can always use all the help we can muster to find signs of intelligent life in L.A.