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April 3rd, 2004, 07:33 AM #1
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
- West Coast USA
A torrent of interplanetary spam has been found responsible for crippling the onboard computer of NASAâ€™s Spirit rover in January.
Spirit lay crippled on the Martian surface for two weeks after a glitch in its onboard spam filtering saw countless offers of pornography and cheap drugs choke its flash memory, according to NASA spokeswoman Shirley Knott.
â€ťIt would appear Russian spammers obtained Spiritâ€™s email address from a leaked internal NASA mailing list,â€ť says Knott.
â€ťThe roverâ€™s limited onboard artificial intelligence was foolish enough to apply for an shonky online marketing diploma. Soon after offers of cheap WD40 and antenna enlargements began clogging the link between Mars and NASAâ€™s Deep Space Network. Eventually, Spiritâ€™s file management software choked and sent a distress message to the central processor which kept rebooting.â€ť
Technicians solved the problem by upgrading the artificial intelligence on both Spirit and its twin Opportunity.
â€ťThe rovers now have enough sense not to respond to spam or open unknown email attachments, which makes them smarter than your average person,â€ť says Knott.
The news comes too late for the British Mars probe Beagle 2, which is believed to have fallen prey to a Martian strain of the Nigerian money laundering scam.
Controllers have been unable to remotely reset the probe and expect it to keep bombarding the earth with spam for eternity, introducing itself as the brother of former Martian president Joseph Estrada and appealing for help to transfer money back to earth.
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