Pasadena, Ca - Is a secret alien-hunting agenda behind Saturday's launch of NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory?
Astrophysicists at the Agency's Jet Convulsion Laboratory have always rubbished claims that the red planet is a hollow structure housing a massive, sophisticated space craft hangar.
However reports from the Mars Curiosity Rover assembly workshop say an advanced payload of scientific gear is specifically designed to hunt down and open an ancient space base aperture whose existence was first suspected 20 years ago.
First choice for the location is believed to be somewhere on the Tharsis Bulge, an extinct volcanic upland formed during the Noachian period around 4.5 billion years ago.
Other prospective sites include the Olympus Mons - named after the Japanese camera manufacturer responsible for early shots of the famous Cydonia region 'Mars Giant's Face', the Athabasca Valles - root of the ancient Native American athabaskan tongues including Navajo - and a lava-rich plain called the Cerberus Fossae.
Specific details of the Curiosity's primary agenda remain strictly classified using a number of NASA PR techniques including space-speak psychobabble.
A press release early this week insisted that during the Big Bang 'Mars was created out of a protoplanetary disk orbiting the Sun as the result of stochastic processes of run-away accretion'. (WTF? - 'Ed')
Saturday's Cape Canaveral launch will take place just after the Sagittarius solar eclipse and amid what skywatchers have called stunning celestial angles between Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Pluto.
The probe may eventually become visible from the Martian surface to the naked human eye some time in late 2012.