The Space Explorer Beagle has been found in the backyard of Festus P. Hyman in Billings, Montana.
"At first I thought it was my damned brother in law Leo crashing his truck into the barn again," said a shaken Mr. Hyman, "that drunk fool is always doing shit like that. But man, I never expected to see no space ship. There it was, sitting on top of my Dodge Ram, beeping away like all get out. Damn, I just put a new fender on that truck too and now the roofs shot."
Britain's Beagle 2 craft was scheduled to parachute to the Martian surface at 2:54 AM on Christmas morning. Professor Colin Pilleger, the Beagle's chief scientist, was at a loss to explain how the wayward spacecraft could end up in Mr. Hyman's backyard.
"There are a number of things that could have gone awry," a chagrined Prof. Pilleger was quoted as saying, " First and foremost, we have to determine why we thought the craft was on it's way to Mars when in actuality it was headed to Montana. Needless to say, that's a bit of an error in navigation. The best we can determine, what we thought was the Moon during the flight was actually Harvey Firestein dressed in his ‘Hairspray' costume in New York City. Seen at a distance of several hundred miles from space they both look remarkably similar. That was an honest mistake."
Meanwhile, Mr. Hyman and Professor Pilleger are in negotiation to have the space probe returned. Mr. Hyman has already removed some components from the craft to help repair his damaged truck and Professor Pilleger is concerned that Hyman will damage the ship beyond repair. " There's a little thingy on the top," Mr. Hyman said, " that would make a dandy hood ornament and my cousin Phil thinks he can get enough stuff off it to fix his satellite dish. Of course, a couple hundred bucks would go a long way to making things right."
Approved by Wegman (Pudgy) Waterhouse