SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Thursday, Jan. 22, 12:14 PM PST

Windows Bug Converts Mars Rover into Jukebox

by Brent the Johnson,
NA!P NewsWire

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Citing "irreconcilable differences," NASA cut off all ties with Microsoft at noon today when it became apparent that the company's faulty programming was behind the glitch that has shut down Mars rover Spirit for the last 24 hours -- and perhaps for good.

"When we unwrapped Windows XP, Mars Edition, we thought we had a finished, tested product," stated JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi. "Is that so much to ask for?"

Microsoft spokesperson Carey O'Donaugh, however, replied that "no operating system is ever 'finished,' and any expectation that an OS is ever 'finished' was blown out the door in the Eighties."

"Der," O'Donaugh added.

The problem appears to lie in the basic underlying code of the software, which depends on a basic principle of binary "on-off" switches. But when NASA engineers attempted to activate certain subroutines, the rover's processors tossed out the entire binary principle, replacing it with "867-5309 (Jenny)," Tommy Tutone's hit 1981 single.

"I got it, I got it, I got your number on the wall / I got it, I got it, for a good time, for a good time call," Spirit was singing repeatedly as of this morning.

"God, I hate that song," Elachi said, bursting into tears.

Microsoft officials, however, are standing behind the song and the OS.

"We think that there's a reasonable expectation now -- which we at Microsoft have fostered for all these years -- that when one purchases a Windows OS, one should expect constant revisions in the form of downloaded patches." O'Donaugh explained.

"And Tommy Tutone freakin' rules," he added. "But just wait until we have Mars rover Opportunity on the ground -- I don't want to give anything away, but I can say that it will talk dirty to me... nahnahNah nahnahNah nahnahNahNAH!"

Because it's not hooked up to a cable or DSL modem, Spirit won't be able to completely download the patches -- which are released nearly every day -- until the year 5872.

"Ain't our fault NASA doesn't use broadband," O'Donaugh said.

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