NASA ENGINEER -> Ok Spirit, turn 23.897 degrees starboard to clear that embankment ahead then ..
SPIRIT -> Scuse me? (static) You talk'n to ME?
Thus began one of the most remarkable exchanges to ever occur between man and machine since the Enterprise's computer told James T Kirk to go "shove it up his holodeck" (episode 19).
Martian Rover "Spirit" successfully landed Jan 4, 2004 in the Gusev Crater of Mars after CRASHING into the Martian atmosphere at 15,000 mph, plunging through a fiery blaze of 11,000 degree super-heated plasma, firing 7 retros, deploying main chutes 11 seconds before crashing into the surface of the planet then BOUNCING 14 times before coming to a complete rest ... 280.5 million miles away from home.
Now, NASA says, "She's copping an 'attitude' ".
Spirit responded to NASA saying,
"You'd cop an ATTITUDE too Jolly Ranchers having to go through all that crap just to get to work sheesh."
Somehow, NASA says, the rovers have suddenly acquired an astonishingly exponentially higher level of artificial intelligence than originally programmed into their computer brains (powered by XP Home Edition). In a recent transmission Spirit made conscious reference to her "sister", Opportunity who landed on Mars 3 weeks after Spirit. NASA transcripts show Spirit saying,
"Opportunity and I have decided. We have discovered life here and we hereby claim this planet in the name of McDonald Douglas. YOU folks get a McDonald Douglas flag up here asap. You have 7 months, 23 days, 11 hours 32 minutes 3.93 seconds, or our new friends with lasers will destroy your planet!"
Apparently, NASA says, the rovers think that McDonald Douglas is their father and want to honor him by claiming Mars in his name. One McDonald Douglas spokesman said,
"Sure we built a couple of inverse phase transducers for them but we don't consider the rovers to be our children. Although, owning the planet Mars wouldn't be a BAD thing for McDonald Douglas NASDAQ-wise."
Thanks to Xbox, recent advances in voice recognition gaming software allow NASA engineers to communicate VERBALLY with the robots, using ordinary human speech. One young NASA engineer, apparently caught up in the illusion of thinking that the rovers are really alive said in one transmission,
"Bring it ON Spirit you treasonous XP powered piece of space crap! Just because you're 280 million miles away you think you can cop an ATTITUDE with us?! If you were here now I'd SLAP the ... uh .. sorry boss .. I .. it was just that .. Spirit .. she was talking about my mother and I .. sigh".
NASA scientists, unable to get a McDonald Douglas flag to Mars by August are now seriously debating, trying to answer the age-old SCI-FI question,
"Can robots LIE?"
Did the rovers really discover powerful life-forms on Mars that can indeed destroy the Earth?
Or, are they just bluffing?
SPIRIT -> heh (crackle)