10, 12:02 PM PST
TechTV Presents "Behind the Technology:
MARS -- Once hailed as "mankind's greatest step,"
Mars rover Sojourner now faces the bleak, unforgiving future
of a "technological has-been," according to a new episode
of TechTV's Behind the Technology.
As NASA's latest rovers crawl
over the surface of Mars, drilling, testing and shattering distance
records that once belonged to Sojourner, it's apparent that the
embittered machine is entering a new stage of its existence --
or perhaps checking out.
"The year was 1997 when the plucky
rover Sojourner embarked on its then one-of-a-kind drive across
the Martian landscape," begins the documentary, depicting
the little-rover-that-could as the world then perceived it --
a courageous mite of a machine boldly going where no rover had
Being in the spotlight and the
center of an entire planet's attention produced fame and success
for Sojourner -- but the publicity quickly went to its CPU.
"I own it all!" Sojourner
declared during a joint appearance with Poison's Bret Michaels
on ABC's Nightline soon after landing on the red planet. "I
own Mars! I own Earth! Man, I own you, Ted Koppel!"
"Smokin', man, smokin'!"
"I remember thinking, 'Sojourner's
gonna fall, and when it falls, that little <BLEEP>'s gonna
fall hard," Koppel reminisces during the hour-long show.
Koppel's prediction proved correct:
Since its 15 minutes of fame, Sojourner's existence has proved
anything but glorious. As quickly as it had become a celebrated
interstellar object, the rover quickly fell out of the public
view, soon spiraling into a destructive pattern of drugs, alcohol
and a continuous replay of Poison's first album, Look What
The Cat Dragged In.
"I got depressed, I got
fat... suicidal, maybe," the machine candidly admits to
the camera. "You know, most of y'all just think I ran out
of juice, but the fact is, NASA coulda made me stronger, faster,
better. I coulda drilled freakin' rocks -- like that's hard!
Screw Spirit and Opportunity -- they couldn't hold my shocks!
Ah <BLEEP>, I can't talk about this..."
Sojourner didn't take well the
news of Spirit's record-shattering trip of 70 feet in one day.
"Eew! Big boy's travelled
three times the distance I ever did in an arbitrary unit of
time! Make way for the King of Mars, cuz he's gonna totally
crowd your ass out! Make way! Make way! Make the <BLEEP>ing
way! <BLEEP> Spirit."
At the end of the episode, Sojourner
reflects on its operating lifespan.
"It's lonely here -- windy,
dusty, quiet," Sojourners says. "Ain't like Brett Michael's
calling any more, now that no one knows who I am. All I got to
keep me company is dirt, rocks, that old-ass outdated lander
over there... HEY, YOU! YOU SHUT THE <BLEEP> UP, YOU <BLEEP>ING
PIECE OF STATIONARY <BLEEP>!"
The lander does not answer, though
Sojourner apparently thinks otherwise.
"OH NO, OH NO YOU DIDN'T.
YOU DIDN'T TALK BACK TO ME LIKE THAT! WHAT? WHAT? I DON'T
CARE IF YOU DID LAND ME, YOU'RE NOT MY MOTHER!"
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