quasi in rem

Friday, January 23, 2004

As Don Johnson would say, "We're looookin's for a heartbeat! Heart beaaaaaat."

AP reports that NASA Gets New Signal From Mars Rover "Engineers got a 10-minute signal Friday morning from the Spirit rover and planned further communications with it in an effort to diagnose and possibly patch up their ailing robotic patient on Mars. "

In further testing, NASA engineers have narrowed it down to two possible sources of the communications failure. The first is a piece of Microsoft Software used to manage the basic operating system on the rover. Microsoft has responded that they are sure the problem is not with their software, but even if it is, it is definetely not a programming error, but in fact a a feature. Much like many "bugs" with Microsoft products, it is the misunderstanding of the end user which causes the belief that this is a bug, not a problem with the product. In fact the inability of the rover to communicate with Earth for long periods of time, is actually quite a fantastic feature, according Microsoft, as it gives the rover the necessary downtime with which it can collect it's thoughts and ponder the meaning of existence.

The other possible explanation of the failure is much more nefarious. Immediately, prior to losing communication with the rover, NASA learned that the Rover had been reading its email. Although unconfirmed at this point, one of the emails was sent from an unknown source entitle "Juliette" and had the subject line "I love you." Whether or not this email contained a virus, at this point, is unknown. Other emails read by the Rover included offers to increase the size of its Martian probe by up to 3 inches, and a way to make up to $1000.00 a week by working from Mars.

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