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Out of all the rocks on Mars
August 19, 2012 4:03 AM   Subscribe

The Curiosity rover is preparing to use its rock vaporizing laser for the first time, on a rock labelled as N165. Rock N165 has a twitter account. People are chatting to it.
posted by memebake (99 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
rock vaporizing laser

So I guess Martian jazz, funk, hip hop, disco, C&W and electronica* have nothing to worry about, then.

*I was worried about Mouse on Mars there for a second.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:19 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm no PR expert, but doesn't it seem like a very bad idea to create a fake Twitter account for something you're planning to kill?
posted by Malor at 4:24 AM on August 19, 2012


You can't kill a rock.
posted by crunchland at 4:28 AM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Account's not verified. I'm calling bullshit.
posted by R. Schlock at 4:34 AM on August 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


You can't kill a rock.

Paper covers rock.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:36 AM on August 19, 2012 [15 favorites]




While we're at it, some Curiosity mission NASA people did an IAmA on Reddit this week. With a photo for evidence. Among various technical stuff, we also learnt that some of them play Kerbal Space Program.
posted by memebake at 4:42 AM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ask not for whom the battery charges, N165...
posted by jaduncan at 4:54 AM on August 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


For anyone who doubts we're living in the future, remember that this rock, that has a Twitter account, is on freaking Mars, and is about to be vaporized with a laser mounted on a semi-autonomous robot that was delivered to the planet's surface by a rocket-powered robot crane.

For reals.
posted by kcds at 5:03 AM on August 19, 2012 [64 favorites]


Rock of Ages, it's better to burn out than to fade away.
posted by drlith at 5:04 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't want to keep reading the rock's twitter account! Because eventually it will go silent. Forever.
posted by royalsong at 5:05 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I read the account, and now I think I'm a basalt-petter. Crap.

I'm going off to pick apples, and I'd better not be coming back to some bad news.
posted by maudlin at 5:09 AM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


And now that I've RTFA, I'm reassured: there will be no [basalt] shattering kaboom.
The brief but powerful burst of light from this instrument will vaporise the surface of the rock, revealing details of its basic chemistry.
It's just getting a laser skin treatment (paid for by American taxpayers, to boot). Moocher. Grabber.
posted by maudlin at 5:12 AM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


And now that I've RTFA, I'm reassured: there will be no [basalt] shattering kaboom.

No. The power budget for actual explosion of the rock would be insane.
posted by jaduncan at 5:14 AM on August 19, 2012


The rock is more being "smoked", as I understand the youth sometimes utter.
posted by jaduncan at 5:16 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't want to keep reading the rock's twitter account! Because eventually it will go silent. Forever.

How does that differ from so many other twitter accounts?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:23 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because eventually it will go silent. Forever.

It'll probably just say Ouch!
posted by carter at 5:29 AM on August 19, 2012


The difference between neglect and a last tweet of
@firingsquad I'm counting to 100 and then I'm taking the blindfold off to find you!
posted by jaduncan at 5:30 AM on August 19, 2012


Pew pew pew
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:36 AM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


In a mistake that colossally dwarfs their famous "imperial to metric measurement" mistake that rendered Hubble nearsighted, NASA today reported that the planet Mars disappeared moments following the first trial of the rover Curiosity's rock-dissolving laser experiment.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:41 AM on August 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


Paper covers rock.
Yes, but rock sinks boat. I have a bad feeling about this. ROCK ROCK ROCK!
posted by PapaLobo at 6:09 AM on August 19, 2012


I gotta rock.
posted by The Whelk at 6:14 AM on August 19, 2012


The twitter account is surprisingly funny.

"Come on, guys, I know you're just fooling. What are the chances? Out of all the rocks on Mars, a killer robot would pick me? Haha! :)"

So naive and trustworthy!
posted by meows at 6:21 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: DJ Shadow or Charlie Brown after trick-or-treating?
posted by sourwookie at 6:21 AM on August 19, 2012


The rock sounds lonely and hopeful, I hope the rover doesn't just dump it after having it's lasery way.
posted by arcticseal at 6:21 AM on August 19, 2012


Sourwookie: Why not combine the two?
posted by solarion at 6:23 AM on August 19, 2012


I hope N165 doesn't tweet that the family dog has died, I certainly don't want to go through that again.
posted by mattoxic at 6:28 AM on August 19, 2012


That's no rock...
posted by Devonian at 6:28 AM on August 19, 2012


This is amazing. We've discovered intelligent rocks on Mars.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:31 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Take a look at the law man beating up the wrong guy.
posted by dry white toast at 6:35 AM on August 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm willing to bet that N165 has been sitting on the barren surface of Mars for millennia, and that this is the most excitement it has ever had. Go out with a bang, N165!
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:38 AM on August 19, 2012


the object is not expected to have any science value

Aw. Don't tell it.
posted by mediareport at 6:39 AM on August 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the question for Curiosity is this, in fact: can you smell what the rock is cooking?

I hope I have cleared this up.
posted by jaduncan at 6:47 AM on August 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Mars Squirrel Laboratory.
posted by steef at 6:48 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is amazing. We've discovered intelligent rocks on Mars.
I thought so too, until I realized it had a Twitter feed. Now I'm not so sure about the "intelligent" part.
posted by drlith at 6:53 AM on August 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Right now Martian radio is reporting this imminent attack of the Earthlings and telling all citizens to flee their homes.

But they can't because they are rocks, and they have no legs.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:54 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Academician Prokhor Zakharov is pleased.
posted by arcticseal at 6:58 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can't kill a rock.

Creed killed rock.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:59 AM on August 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


How does that differ from so many other twitter accounts?

Mostly because it would imply the rock died from the laser. Same reason the twitter account of the woman who was killed in the Aurora shooting is so profoundly sad.

It feels like something is unfinished, unresolved. No conclusion.

The difference between reading the tweets, facebook posts, or blog posts, of someone who has died vs someone who has just lost interest is that the interest might return, but the life never will.

/seriousness
posted by royalsong at 7:00 AM on August 19, 2012


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Tweet.
posted by ryoshu at 7:27 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


The rock appears to be wounded. And mildly annoyed. This is how it starts.
posted by arcticseal at 7:28 AM on August 19, 2012


The existence of this twitter feet is one in the eye for all the poofaced, straight laces 150ties and 1960ties science fiction writers who wanted us to know that the Space Race was Very Serious Business and that We Need to Get to Space and pay proper attention to it. Well, here we are, it's the frikking future and instead of gazing in awe at the wonders of enginering, people are roleplaying rock samples on Mars.

Love it.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:31 AM on August 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Like so many relationships, it ends with a laser blast to the face.
posted by The Whelk at 7:33 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


DON'T RUN AWAY, WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS!

(ack ack bok yak yak...)
posted by trackofalljades at 7:33 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oooooh...that makes me so angry....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:39 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't talk of love. But I've heard the words before. It's sleeping in my memory. I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died. If I never loved, I never would have cried... I have my books and my poetry to protect me, I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me....
posted by crunchland at 7:42 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Right now Martian radio is reporting this imminent attack of the Earthlings and telling all citizens to flee their homes.

But they can't because they are rocks, and they have no legs.


Don't be so sure they don't have ways.
posted by stevis23 at 7:53 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aww, the little dude tweets from an iPhone.
posted by undue influence at 7:55 AM on August 19, 2012


That's because by the time they got any other phone it Mars is would be decades out of date.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:56 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


First they came for the rocks, and I said nothing, for I am not a rock.





/notpaulsimon
posted by nevercalm at 7:57 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Siri, does this Mars rover want to be my friend?"
posted by ryoshu at 7:58 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


martian’s best friend
posted by bluesapphires at 8:00 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was worse than the Companion Cube.
posted by kalimac at 8:21 AM on August 19, 2012


I think part of me is missing. :(

It's totally cool, N165. Piercing is the new in thing.
posted by localroger at 8:23 AM on August 19, 2012


For anyone who doubts we're living in the future, remember that this rock, that has a Twitter account, is on freaking Mars, and is about to be vaporized with a laser mounted on a semi-autonomous robot that was delivered to the planet's surface by a rocket-powered robot crane.

For reals.


See, the thing is, I grew up in the 1970s, in the heyday of Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz and the Space Shuttle and all that. We were expecting all this stuff to have happened by, like, 1992. So to me it feels a little bit like living in the past.

Except the Twitter part. No one warned us about Twitter.
posted by drlith at 8:38 AM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


We got to hear the selection process live, it was pretty cool. I tried to write it down:

-----
Curiosity: Rock N164, are you classified as silicate?
N164: Negative, I am a meat popsicle.
Curiosity: Rock N165, are you classified as silicate?
N165: SMOKE YOU!!!
N164: Wrong answer.
Curiosity: Laser target selected.
-----

/notpaulsimon

You know, it really is amazing how much he got correct in The Obvious Child. I mean, just listen to the lyrics:
-----
We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of pocky.
We had a little son, we thought we'd call him Rocky.

Rocky gets married and moves away,
Rocky has a baby and bills to pay.
Rocky gets classified as Y142 and blasted by a laser on a car sized robot sent to our planet by aliens.
-----
Just about everything except the name of the rock, really.
posted by BeeDo at 8:55 AM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


people are roleplaying rock samples on Mars.

"I call out to the strange visitor in the sky."
"You can't call out to it, you're a rock! What do you do, James?"
".... I run away!"
"You can't, you're a ROCK! How about you, Debbie?"
" Er... I cast Magic Missile!"
"Fine... your spell does 4 points of damage. Now you've angered NASA! Rovers fall, everyone dies."
posted by The otter lady at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone needs to create a PETA-style Martian rock advocate activist group just for the troll value.
posted by sourwookie at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2012


And here we thought Mars would be vaporizing the Earth with its Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator. Suck it, Mars!
posted by Foosnark at 8:57 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


We could all use a rock vaporizing laser.
posted by mazola at 9:29 AM on August 19, 2012


So Mars has magic talking rocks and no tigers. Coincidence? I think not. We should bring these rocks to Earth and sell them to people with tiger problems. Profit!
posted by homunculus at 9:39 AM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


twoleftfeet: Right now Martian radio is reporting this imminent attack of the Earthlings and telling all citizens to flee their homes.

Goes to show that every planet has their Orson Welles.
posted by dr_dank at 9:42 AM on August 19, 2012


I think part of me is missing. :(

Finally, we have proof of existentialism on Mars.
posted by mediareport at 9:46 AM on August 19, 2012


Curiosity has enough artificial intelligence to deliberate its murderous mission, but what can it do? It's not possible for it to abandon the mission and run away, trying to make a life of its own on Mars, because conditions there are too harsh. It is trapped between a rock and a hard place.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:47 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]




Hey hold on a minute, I got five kids to feed!
posted by benzenedream at 10:22 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


one in the eye for all the poofaced, straight laces 150ties and 1960ties science fiction

Poofaced? I feel newly sorry for the authors you are poking in the eye.
posted by jaduncan at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
posted by elpapacito at 10:41 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


*reads thread profoundly grateful to be alive in the now, twitter be damned*
posted by infini at 10:42 AM on August 19, 2012


The Curiosity rover is preparing to use its rock vaporizing laser for the first time

Does this mean there won't be a The Fast and the Furious 6?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:04 AM on August 19, 2012


rock vaporizing laser

Mark my words: This is how the man of the future will smoke crack.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 AM on August 19, 2012


Rock never dies, it just fades away.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 AM on August 19, 2012


For centuries that rock told all his rock friends on Mars that when he died he would like to be cremated.

Most of them couldn't see how it was even possible.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:13 AM on August 19, 2012


martian rocks wait to see how our ambassordor acts before they decide the fate of earth.
posted by mule98J at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2012


Someone needs to create a PETA-style Martian rock advocate activist group just for the troll value.

A good idea, but Kim Stanley Robinson beat you to it.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:50 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a rock before it then had to come to terms with not being a rock any more. What's happening? It thought.

And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me? So big and metallic and shiny, it needs a big sounding name like … ove...over...rove...rover! That’s it! That’s a good name – Rover! And what's that shiny thing suddenly shining? It's going tzzzz...it should have a zzz sound. Zzz...zer...la...aser...laser!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden bright flash, was silence.

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the Mars Rover as it blasted was Oh no, not again.
posted by ilana at 12:59 PM on August 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


s/Oh no, no again/EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!/g
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:33 PM on August 19, 2012


regex fail. /me bashes self about the head and neck with the llama book.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:34 PM on August 19, 2012


life was a rock til curiosity smoked me ...
posted by pyramid termite at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2012


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Tweet.

*giggles madly*
posted by zarq at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2012


when did we stop using the twitter tag?
posted by blogenstock at 2:41 PM on August 19, 2012


About the same time we stopped using the internet tag.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:56 PM on August 19, 2012


So joking aside, has anybody found a link reporting the results of the Martian Laser Tag experiment? MSL's website is quite useless compared to the oriiginal Spirit / Opportunity site.
posted by localroger at 2:59 PM on August 19, 2012


"The first results could be revealed early next week, Wiens said."
posted by crunchland at 3:23 PM on August 19, 2012


This straight from the Facebook Rover account
Pew! Pew! See the first laser-zapped rock on Mars. My team is analyzing the data from this ChemCam test now.
I kind of like this bot humanization
posted by elpapacito at 3:55 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know, something just hit me:

ROBOTS on MARS with LASER GUNS

This is the reality we live in.


Huh.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


It happened so gradually we didn't notice.
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK SO WHERE WAS THE MARS-SHATTERING KABOOM?
posted by localroger at 5:17 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Curiosity's descent video happened to catch its advance scout heat shield hitting the ground.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2012


In a mistake that colossally dwarfs their famous "imperial to metric measurement" mistake that rendered Hubble nearsighted

Um... what? I haven't heard that explanation for the Hubble problem before, and neither has anyone who edits Wikipedia.

Now, if you're talking about the Mars Climate Orbiter, that's truly a famous metric mixup.
posted by hippybear at 5:57 PM on August 19, 2012


A Stone is Nobody's

A man ambushed a stone. Caught it. Made it a prisoner.
Put it in a dark room and stood guard over it for the
rest of his life.

His mother asked why.

He said, because it's held captive, because it is
captured.

Look, the stone is asleep, she said, it does not know
whether it's in a garden or not. Eternity and the stone
are mother and daughter; it is you who are getting old.
The stone is only sleeping.

But I caught it, mother, it is mine by conquest, he said.

A stone is nobody's, not even its own. It is you who are
conquered; you are minding the prisoner, which is yourself,
because you are afraid to go out, she said.

Yes yes, I am afraid, because you have never loved me,
he said.

Which is true, because you have always been to me as
the stone is to you, she said.
posted by winna at 6:40 PM on August 19, 2012


If you love a stone, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was. If it doesn't move at all, blast it with a laser.
posted by hippybear at 6:48 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


No one warned us about Twitter.

Warnings wouldn't have helped. You must experience it to truly understand its horror.
posted by MikeKD at 7:20 PM on August 19, 2012


You know, something just hit me: ROBOTS on MARS with LASER GUNS. This is the reality we live in.

It happened so gradually we didn't notice.


First they came for the rocks on Mars,
and I said nothing,
because I wasn't a rock on Mars...

etc.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:06 PM on August 19, 2012


I'm all for getting kindergartners interested in science but come on, kill the personification. The Curiosity Rover twitter feed is bad enough and makes me wonder if someone at JPL needs their medication. Thank god they didn't have this when I was a kid watching Apollo missions or I would have lost interest in the space program long ago.
posted by JJ86 at 6:12 AM on August 20, 2012


Thank god they didn't have this when I was a kid watching Apollo missions or I would have lost interest in the space program long ago.

Apollo 11 aka Eagle ‏@Apollo 11
Jesus, Armstrong just stunk up the place. What the hell, I thought they were on a low residue diet?
Reply Retweet Favorite
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 AM on August 20, 2012


So joking aside, has anybody found a link reporting the results of the Martian Laser Tag experiment?

Rover's Laser Instrument Zaps First Martian Rock

It doesn't really seem like this rock was anything other than a test to make sure the laser works though.
posted by smackfu at 12:34 PM on August 20, 2012


And let Mars know that there's a new rover in town.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hear gun control laws on Mars are pretty lax.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:03 PM on August 20, 2012


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