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November 5, 1998

Scientists find Mars to be ‘oblivious’
Data from Sojourner probe indicates that Mars is ‘playing hard to get’

CAPE CANAVERAL — After over 30 years of intensive study of Mars, culminating with the 1997 landing of the Sojourner probe on the planet’s surface, scientists have finally revealed what they’ve learned.

According to Chief NASA scientist Gordon Nesmith, "Mars appears to be completely oblivious."

Researchers had worried that ongoing observations would somehow disturb the planet, but it apparently took no notice. "Either it’s ignoring us or it just has absolutely no idea we’re there," said former astronaut James Vandermeer.

With the arrival of the Sojourner probe on Mars’ surface, scientists anticipated some form of planetary response, but were rather disappointed when "nothing really happened. Mars is obviously a planet playing very hard to get," said Nesmith. Though many NASA officials appeared to be hurt by the planet’s "cold shoulder," others remained optimistic that the fourth planet from the sun would one day "do something."

Reporters were invited to NASA’s main observatory to get a closer look at the red planet, but were instead treated to a tirade by top scientist Warren Nedski.

"Look at it! It’s just sitting there! I don’t care if it’s a planet, a moon, a meteor, whatever, no one is going to ignore the U.S. Space Program!" screamed a frustrated Nedski.

A source close to the space program said it may be joining forces with the Defense Department in an last-ditch effort to elicit some form of response from the planet. When questioned about potential tactics, military spokesman Army General Virgil Handy outlined their options.

"If we don’t get a reaction soon we’re gonna bomb the hell out of it — first maybe just knock it out of its orbit," said Handy. "If that doesn’t work, you can pretty much count on there being one less planet in our galaxy, if you know what I’m sayin’. No one ignores the U.S. Space Program and the U.S. Military!"

Regardless, there appears to be no reason behind the planet’s muted secrecy. Wendy Regan, a third grader who had been drawing the planet for class, described Mars as "just plain rude. I may not even use my favorite red crayon to color it in," Regan said.

Shunned by children, observed by scientists, threatened by the military: who knows if any of these will be enough to break Mars’ silence. If not, NASA plans on "seeing if Jupiter is paying any attention."

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