PASADENA, CA–A team of cold-hearted, killjoy scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory callously announced Monday that the likelihood of complex life on Mars is "extraordinarily low," dashing the hopes of the public just like that.
"What? Are they sure? I'm crestfallen," said Shreveport, LA, real-estate agent Martin Lucas, 47. "I remember back when I was a little boy, I'd dream of life on Mars. I'd lie awake under the covers imagining myself having all sorts of adventures with these Martians I befriended. How can those scientists just dismiss it so nonchalantly? What jerks."
Added Lucas: "Maybe next, they can do a study definitively disproving the existence of Santa Claus."
The scientists' misanthropic announcement was made at an 11 a.m. press conference, which many in attendance thought was going to be about something exciting, such as the discovery of fossilized organisms on Mars or maybe even Martian cities, complete with Martian ranch houses, Martian hamburgers, and Martian sewer systems. Instead, the crotchety scientists cynically announced that radiation levels on the Red Planet's surface are too high to make possible the survival of living organisms.
"Because Mars' atmosphere is far thinner than Earth's, solar radiation penetrates its surface at greater levels," said NASA's Cary Nicastro, whose team relied largely on data from the unmanned Mars Odyssey spacecraft. "The radiation measured by Odyssey was so intense, the chance of advanced surface life is virtually zero."
To many, the NASA announcement was, in the words of Bakersfield, CA, claims adjuster and science-fiction buff Bill Cartwright, "incredibly negative."
"[Nicastro] didn't even try to break it to us gently," Cartwright said. "Doesn't he realize that a lot of people think it would be incredibly cool to have a giant Martian invasion force next door? In the future, when scientists make statements like this, they should do it with a little more sensitivity and regard for our feelings."
Adding insult to injury, team member Christine Luo said freezing temperatures and a lack of surface-flowing water make Mars inhospitable to the future development of life.
"If flowing water does exist, it's most likely below the surface, possibly under the vast ice caps," Luo said. "These harsh conditions would present a formidable challenge to the evolution of complex organisms."
"Nyah, nyah, nyah, Mars is too inhospitable for life," said Columbus, OH, resident Bryan Olin. "We're scientists and we make everything boring. We want proof of everything and don't want space exploration to be fun."
Aeronautics expert and NASA watchdog L. Kennan Brooks said the space agency has a long history of being a total buzzkill, repeatedly shooting down the prospect of extraterrestrial life in our solar system.
"Since its founding in the late 1950s, NASA has willfully–and at great taxpayer expense–rejected decades of creative speculation about space," Brooks said. "In the '60s, it refused to investigate the existence of the Man on the Moon. The Viking Mars probe of the '70s left millions of third-graders deflated with its lack of data about flying saucers and little green men. And probes sent close to Jupiter in the '80s made no effort to prove, once and for all, if God lived there."
Instead, Brooks said, NASA stubbornly insists on analyzing cosmic data in the most coldly rational ways possible.
"They could be doing such exciting stuff, but they won't," Brooks said. "Rather than using the Hubble Space Telescope to prove the existence of black holes, we should be piloting a fusion-powered spacecraft straight into the heart of them, coming out the other side into a parallel universe populated by our evil, goatee-wearing doubles."
"They refuse to allow even the faintest possibility that the Martians can't be detected because they're invisible. Or maybe they occupy a different dimension," Brooks continued. "There's a world of possibilities here. These scientists should depend less on cold, hard data and more on their imaginations. They'd probably be a lot less cranky."