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Shock Recall of Voyager Probe

(SNN) - The announcement that the Voyager-1 space probe had finally left the solar system after 36 years was greeted with considerable enthusiasm amongst the scientific community this week. Indeed, many senior astronomers were so excited, they were taken to the hospital suffering from death.

However, a news conference convened by Jim Parsons, star of TV's 'The Big Bang Theory' and Head of Operations at NASA, soon dampened the high spirits of the surviving eggheads. Mr Parsons, who sported a broken wrist from excessive 'high fiving', said that while the probe was still functioning within expected parameters, it was necessary to bring it back to Earth.

Fielding questions from reporters, Mr Parsons explained that Voyager had a lifetime warranty that could be invalidated if it missed its 25 billion mile service. As it had reached nearly half that distance already, a decision had been taken to turn the craft around with immediate effect. As Mr Parsons remarked, "You don't want to find you're not covered by the terms of the policy when you break down in some godforsaken part of the cosmos."

Upon its return, it was announced that a team of handpicked mechanics called Bert and Ernie would clean up the radio antennae, fuel cells, and upholstery before taking the craft to a local Star Wash® for a thorough wax and polish.

Mr Parsons added that NASA may also remove the gilded record mounted to Voyager's body, which carries data about our planet should the probe ever encounter an extraterrestrial civilisation.

"The phonograph is a dead format," the NASA chief said. "And the prospect of letting space aliens think it's cutting edge technology is plain humiliating. Besides, the gold-plating is way too bling."

While he could not confirm what it might be replaced with, experts believe that austerity measures could rule the day and the humble Post-It note is a likely cost-effective alternative. With Voyager not expected to return until 2049, NASA officials will be hoping that the embarrassing probe remains undetected long enough to limp back to Earth.

As Mr Parsons put it, "This is something we really don't want E.T. phoning home about."

Photo by: Anthony Easton  flickr photostream, Some Rights Reserved, The Sage nor this article endorsed


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