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NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists overseeing the ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission said Monday that the Spirit's latest transmissions could indicate a growing resentment of the Red Planet.
"Spirit has been displaying some anomalous behavior," said Project Manager John Callas, who noted the rover's unsuccessful attempts to flip itself over and otherwise damage its scientific instruments. "And the thousand or so daily messages of 'STILL NO WATER' really point to a crisis of purpose."
According to Callas, Spirit was operating normally until the onset of the Martian winter, whose shorter days and frigid temperatures typically mean a slower pace for exploratory rovers. "We began getting the occasional transmission along the lines of 'ANOTHER SOIL SAMPLE OF THE EXACT SAME COMPOSITION AS THE LAST ONE,'" Callas said. "Most of the time, she'd power down and not transmit much of anything, which, at the time, didn't particularly concern us."
But as the winter lingered, Spirit began producing thousands of pages of sometimes rambling and dubious data, ranging from complaints that the Martian surface was made up almost entirely of the same basalt, to long-winded rants questioning the exorbitant cost and scientific relevance of the mission.
"Granted, Spirit has been extraordinarily useful to our work," Callas said. "Last week, however, we received three straight days of images of the same rock with the message 'HAPPY NOW?'"


-- more, much more at the onion

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