PASADENA, CA - Following last
week's near-shutdown of the Galileo space probe after weathering a blast of interstellar
radiation, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory were elated yesterday when the
Mars Global Surveyor discovered conclusive proof of nightlife on the Red Planet. While
Galileo's mission has taken it nearly twice as far from Earth as the Global Surveyor, and
its data and images of Jupiter's moon Io have vastly improved scientists' understanding of
the tiny satellite, all of its successes pale in comparison to Global Surveyor's cultural
According to Global Surveyor project manager Glenn Cunningham, yesterday's discovery was a
shock to system controllers and mission analysts. "Deep ravines and polar ice caps
have long led us to believe that life probably once existed on Mars," he said.
"But this is amazing. Even our wildest extrapolations couldn't have predicted
something like this."
So far, photographs taken by the orbiting probe have confirmed the existence of three TGI
Friday's restaurants, two Applebee's, fourteen discount liquor stores and three
funk-smashin', beat-rappin' techno dance clubs, and have revealed the Martian surface to
be a virtual wasteland of alien party debris.
"We have yet to actually locate or identify any Martian lifeforms," said
Cunningham. "But it's pretty clear at this point that they definitely know how to
party, whoever they are."
While scientists eagerly await more data from Global Surveyor, plans are already underway
for a second probe to be launched early next year. The new craft, tentatively dubbed Mars
Party Surveyor, will attempt to establish communications with our new neighbors in space
and will include a payload of beer, whiskey and cigarettes, plus a copy of Lou Bega's hit
CD, A Little Bit of Mambo.
"Naturally, this discovery raises a host of questions," mused Cunningham.
"What are the Martians like? Are they technologically superior to us? Do they like
Guinness? Do they prefer menthol or regular? Are they into swing or salsa? The list is
NASA officials in
Washington, D.C. are also encouraged by this discovery, and have redoubled their efforts
to accelerate funding for a manned mission to the "party planet."
"This is exactly the kind of breakthrough discovery we've been hoping for," said
Dan Goldin, executive administrator of the space agency. "Partying has become
somewhat listless here on Earth, so contact with another happenin' species could be just
the kick in the ass we've needed."
During a hastily arranged press conference in the White House's Rose Garden, President
George W. Bush delivered a brief but stirring speech about the discovery. "It seems
somehow appropriate we should make this fantastic discovery just in time for the dawning
of the new millenium. For thousands of years mankind has been forced to wonder if he were
alone in the cosmos, but that mystery has now been replaced with confirmation.
"Allow me to be the first to extend my friendship to our new Martian neighbors, and
the first to invite them to party down and get smashed with us all, Earth-style!"
The president concluded his speech by announcing he will be throwing a kegger next week on
the East Lawn and the Martians are welcome to attend.