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Martian Diaries

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Martian Poetry
By Jeffrey Marlow


MSL Poet Laureate Will Brinckerhoff has struck again, gracing the team of pocket protector wearing scientists with a dose of high culture.

Brinckerhoff's latest fit of genius came when the daily science discussion - scheduled for 2 AM - was cancelled. Most scientists went home, eager to catch up on some sleep, but Brinckerhoff's carefully calibrated caffeine regimen (a critical adaptive mechanism for all Mars-timers) had programmed peak mental acuity for that very moment.

Brinckerhoff is a member of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team. His first poetic effort - the instant classic "SAM I Am" - took inspiration from Dr. Seuss; this time, he riffs on the 19th century "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The composition reveals the instrument's deeper, fundamental need to sample martian soil...and the existential torture of procedural mission phases.

(Note: During the ongoing CAP-2 mission phase, Curiosity is performing arm movements and engineering check-ups for several sols. SAM and several other instruments are not scheduled to see any action during CAP-2.)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The MSL Remix: The Whine of the Mass Spectrometer

Sol after sol, sol after sol
We stuck, nor atmospheric ingest nor rove;
As idle as a legged lander
Upon a plain of mauve.
Basalt, and hardpan, every where,
And as yet not near the hill;
Basalt, and hardpan, every where,
Nor any drop to drill... yet!

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