An Unexpected Party Criticizes NASA’s Planned Mars Sample Return Project

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is looking for public feedback regarding its proposed Mars Sample Return (MSR) project. In a statement, NASA explained its mission objective to “use robotic Mars orbiter and lander missions launched in 2027 and 2028 to retrieve samples of rocks and atmosphere being gathered by NASA’s Perseverance rover and return them to Earth. The samples of Mars material, securely isolated inside a robust Earth Entry System using a layered ‘container within a container’ approach, could be brought to Earth in the early 2030s, landing notionally at the Utah Test and Training Range operated by the U.S. Air Force. The Earth Entry System would then be transported to a specialized MSR sample receiving facility.”

The solicitation for public comments concerns the preliminary environmental-impact statement, which focuses on the launch as well as the recovery and storage of vehicles that are part of the mission. There are concerns that the statement does not take into account the impact that the MSR could have on Mars’s environment.

In light of the necessity to be responsible natural-resources stewards, protecting local habitats regardless of where they are, it is essential to explore every aspect of this story. 

RedState contacted an interplanetary-recognized expert on Mars/Earth relations:

“Sir, what are your thoughts on the MSR project?” a RedState reporter asked.

“It makes me very angry! Very angry indeed!” the expert replied.

“What upsets you about the project?”

“How would you feel if some robots suddenly showed up on your front lawn and started taking gardenia samples without permission? Hmm?”

The reporter replied, “Well, I can see your point. But the mission is taking rocks. Surely you can’t object to that.”

The expert retorted, “To you, they may be rocks. To me, they are part of my lovely planet. Besides, I’ve arranged them quite nicely to help me focus on finishing my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.”

“Your what?”

“My Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator. I’m going to use it to blow up the Earth.”

“WHAT?!!” the reporter asked with alarm.

“It blocks my view of Venus,” the expert continued. “Besides, have you looked around your planet lately? Very, very messy.”

“You have us there. But that aside, what else do you object to regarding the project?”

“You still need to file the proper paperwork.”

The reporter protested, “That’s not true. The draft environmental impact statement is on NASA’s website for all to see.”

“Don’t contradict me, Earthling. I am the third part-time deputy sub-assistant to the fourth-floor regional vice-minister for Thursday morning in-between coffee breaks, closet space and environmental impact. You must send me a copy of the statement for review before proceeding. We cannot permit harming the local environment for the sake of alien scientific exploration.”

“We’re taking a few rocks. I’ve seen pictures of your planet. You have plenty to spare.”

The expert was incensed. “Those aren’t rocks. Those are instant Martians. You add water, and you have your own army all ready to go. We can’t allow you Earthlings to take our army.”

“You’re on Mars. Why do you need an army?”

“Same reason you have the Second Amendment.”

The reporter had to confess, “Fair enough.”

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