back to article NASA warns Mars: We're about to laser your rocks and start stealing them

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has started the process of acquiring its first sample of Martian rock. The space agency on Thursday gave Martian authorities fair warning of the imminent heist, which will see the rover move to a spot named "Cratered Floor Fractured Rough" that offers geology of sufficient interest that it's …

  1. TRT Silver badge

    Avoid ...

    Any rock formations that look like coiled up snakes and anything that looks like it's made of multicoloured Perspex.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Avoid ...

      Right, that's me on the nostalgia train for the rest of the afternoon. That was one of my favourite childhood movies.

      Thunderbirds Are Go - 1966 film, for anyone who missed the reference

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Avoid ...

        And Captain Scarlet. Mars is full of pitfalls for the careless explorer.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Avoid ...

          The noble Ice Warriors might also be more than a little peeved if their sleep is disturbed by a laser and drill wielding nuclear powered invader.

  2. mickaroo

    New Reg Standard Required

    "a core sample roughly the size of a piece of chalk"

    What kind of chalk? Blackboard chalk? Sidewalk chalk? A goodly sized chunk of the South Downs?

    1. Just Enough

      Re: New Reg Standard Required

      "a piece of chalk"

      A reference there for the kids. It's a little less than the diameter of a thruppence, and the length of an airwarden's whistle.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: New Reg Standard Required

        Does a dodecagon have a diameter? Side to side or point to point?

        And anyway, blackboard chalk diameter is probably closer to a tanner than a thrupence.

      2. EricB123

        Re: New Reg Standard Required

        "It's a little less than the diameter of a thruppence, and the length of an airwarden's whistle."

        Translate for us non Brits please.

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: New Reg Standard Required

      Tailors' chalk is often triangular. I say this only to add confusion to an otherwise perfectly coherent discussion.

      I'll get my coat, it's the one in need of repairs .

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Billionaire worry

    Imagine you are a billionaire. You skimmed money from your workers majority of your life, you diligently avoided taxes and carefully storied the proceeds in many Caribbean islands.

    After all the effort to pool that money back as a legitimate investment into a new space exploration company, with just a one goal - send you to Mars, you find out the planet you are going to go to is no longer pure.

    You wanted a virgin planet! Now it's broken, with missing rocks and some pesky rovers.

  4. Captain Scarlet

    Stop attacking the Mysterons

    The continual we will be avenged radio announcements are getting annoying now :whaa:

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Stop attacking the Mysterons

      Don't know what you're complaining about, you got to be indestructible over it.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Stop attacking the Mysterons

        Harmony, Melody, Rhapsody, Symphony, Destiny.

        1. SusiW

          Re: Stop attacking the Mysterons

          Ahhh. Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, and Stingray. Truly wonderful memories.

          I recently bought the full FireballXL5 series on DVD. FXL5 got me interested as a kid in Science and Science-Fiction.

          Has anyone else watched FXL5 as an adult? How bloody annoying is that fudging robot? Oh, and the misogyny, implied or otherwise, is just excruciatingly uncomfortable.

          Moral of the story: Don't revisit the past - it's not as good as you remember. :D

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Stop attacking the Mysterons

            I thought it's FAB.

  5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Will the Martians file a cease and desist order because we did not get permits or file an environmental-impact statement? I mean, we're already flying a drone without a permit, and we have a couple of SUV-sized nuclear tanks trundling about with no license plates. At some point they will draw a line in the dust.

    1. gypsythief

      Re: Will the Martians file a cease and desist order?

      No, that seems somewhat unlikely. The Martians are generally quite accepting of new peoples and things to their lands. I invite you to [re]read the seminal paper on the matter "Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed", one of the finest studies yet published on the Martian natives and ecosystem.

  6. HildyJ Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Upcoming battle

    I look forward to the upcoming battle over the rover with Marvin the Martian on offense and John Carter of Mars on defense

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait for for non-stop Slim Whitman

    Its bound to happen.

  8. Grey_Kiwi

    "NASA currently has no firm plan to retrieve the samples. Indeed its mission description page mentions only a 'potential return to Earth'. A concept for the return mission does exist, and suggests a mission leaving in 2026 could do the job and bring samples back to Earth in 2031."

    If they don't get a wriggle on, a Muskonaut (r)(tm) will amble on by and pick them up.

    Then SpaceX will offer to deliver all 250g of them back to NASA in Houston, perched on top of a one tonne box of samples they gathered themselves, along with a cheery "and don't worry, we've got tonnes more for other people to play with"

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge


      That's an interesting thought. What if a non USAfolk rover lands on Mars and 'liberates' the samples? Would this be theft? After all, does any country own Mars? The lawyers would make a fortune arguing that one in court.

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