PASADENA (CAP) - In one of the few disappointments so far involving the Mars rover Curiosity - which landed on the red planet last week - several technicians were reportedly horrified to find NASA's F-7000 High Density Lens in a storage closet at their jet propulsion lab yesterday.
The lens, which NASA scientists developed over five years at a cost of approximately $350 million, was supposed to have been mounted to the rear of the rover, where it would take in-depth photographs at a far higher resolution than those that have been transmitted by the device so far.
"I know we certainly intended to put it there," the project's head imaging technician Kris Hanford told CAP News. "I'm pretty sure Carl was supposed to do it."
Carl, a NASA technician who declined to give his last name, said he definitely mounted something there, but now he's thinking it might have been something other than the F-7000, like a piece of PVC pipe.
"The funny thing is, I remember when we stored the lens in there I thought, I wonder why we're putting this in here with all this PVC pipe?" Carl recalled.
The news was reportedly not taken well when it was announced to mission control, where dozens of men broke instantaneously into tears, crying uncontrollably down the fronts of their powder blue golf shirts.
Adam Seltzner, the NASA scientist who had been preparing to study the images that were to be sent back from Curiosity using the F-7000, was particularly inconsolable, given that he now has nothing to do for the next five years.
"F-ing Carl!" sobbed Seltzner, removing his horn-rimmed glasses to rub his bloodshot eyes. "I'm still convinced he was the one who put the bad tire on the Spirit rover in 2010."
"It wasn't a tire so much as an old piece of rubber," recalled Carl. "But I'm pretty sure it was circular."
As disappointing as the discovery was, NASA scientists point out that they're used to the ups and downs that go with their jobs.
"We've certainly had our share of successes," said NASA spokesman Marvin Federer, citing their efforts to launch TV host Nancy Grace into space, their participation in Newt Gingrich's planned moon colony and the day they intercepted transmissions from Carrie Prejean's sex tapes.
"That day is still our reigning high-five champion," he noted. "And we give a lot of high fives around here."
"We knew when we got into this business that it wouldn't be easy, and that we'd sometimes make mistakes," said NASA Chief Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. "Carl may have screwed up in not attaching the F-7000 to the Mars rover, but that doesn't mean he's not an excellent technician.
"And I'm not just saying that because he's my brother-in-law," added Bolden.
- CAP News Staff