The list of countries to have sent probes into space grows longer every day. This week, a robotic lander from Ireland failed to land on Mars, causing a great setback to their space programme.
Commander Geoff McGowan of Dublin Space Command reflected on the failure. He said, "We'd been planning space trips since 2006, and our emblem was a four-leaf clover."
In those early days, the rocket scientists were struggling with the basics of spaceflight, but they soon solved their problems. McGowan said, "With a cargo of bricks, and an engine affixed, we got lift-off and propelled the rover."
He reminisced about how the spacecraft's flight had begun successfully. "'Twas a wonderful craft, with a jet on the aft, and into Earth's orbit we drove her. She withstood all the blasts, and she flew bloody fast, and we called her The Irish Rover."
McGowan then began to brag about the ship's specifications. "It took ten thousand hours to build up her towers. She was two million ounces in weight. She had ten million pixels on a photographic cell. She held one billion bytes of raw data."
He then complimented the team behind the space programme. "There was Barney McGee, who studied at MIT. There was Hogan from County Tyrone. There was Johnny McGurk who could do metalwork and a man from Westmeath called Malone."
Finally, McGowan began to weep as he recounted the final moments of the craft as it approached the red planet. "At the atmospheric shock, the ship took a knock. The bulkhead was twisted right over, turned nine times around and the poor old ship went down."
No trace has been found of the Irish rover.