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Mars rovers becoming territorial
by Mark on 4/20/2004 (0)

Shocked at a sudden spate of disobedience from the twin rovers, NASA team leaders are digging for answers.

Silently fumbling a poodle shaped piece of terrestrial hematite, Spirit surface mangager Jennifer Trosper explained in a trembling voice

"W-we first noticed the change in the rover's behavior after we commanded Opportunity to leave the crater it landed in. It emitted a high-pitched whining sound that quickly transmuted into a low growling howl. At first it would only hesitate for a moment or two before it complied with our downloads, but now both rovers show signs of open disobedience.

Trosper quietly took a hip flask from her desk

"After being commanded to exit the crater, Opportunity whined and wuffled and scuffed its wheels in the dirt like an irate rooting golden retriever. It spun in circles chasing it's own antenna and made a series of high-gain transmits that sounded, for all the world l-like a ...

Trosper nervously sipped from the flask

It used its robot arm to pick up a piece of hematite, tossed it up in the air and shook it like it was a rawhide chew toy. We're losing them, and we're not sure what to do about it."

When asked to theorize what the cause of the odd behavior might be, Trosper conjectured

"We programmed them to be autonomous, to a degree of course. We 'trained' them but also gave them the independence to make decisions on their own. Somehow, both rovers seem to have developed a primitive form of self-awareness that is similiar to..."

Trosper returned the flask to her desk drawer and walked away

Other images include capturing the Spirit rover guarding rocks it seemed to find favorite, 'sniffing' its undercarriage with its Mossbauer spectrometer, carrying around and senselessly 'chewing' on rocks with its RAT tool and marking it's territory with battery acid.

Elsewhere, Mission software manager, Jan Chodas, was overheard complaining that the canine obedience training courses stored on a digital memory stick for her pet labrador "Phoebe" was missing from her office.

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