Mixing metaphors

The AP release about the Mars Rovers has been quoted all over the Net. Hurray! They’re two years old, and have outlived their warranties by an amazing margin. You can find the complete text of the article here, or from any number of other sites — pick from this list of feeds at Google News.

The final paragraph in the article is annoying:

“Rock layers are the barcode of Mars history,” said John Grotzinger, a science team member from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Every time we encounter new layers, it’s another piece of the puzzle.”

Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of “pieces of a puzzle,” I don’t think of barcodes. Unless, of course, the barcode has been given the Enron treatment, and your checker at Wal-Mart is trying to tape it together so you can get scanned and find out how much you’re paying for the Barbie & Ken CD Player.

At any rate, hurray for Spirit and Opportunity. The bar has been raised for space programs worldwide. NASA may have screwed up big-time in the past, but with Spirit and Opportunity they’ve gotten it right.


6 thoughts on “Mixing metaphors”

  1. This is a demonstration of just how hard it is to get space programs right, and just how right they do get.

    The past few failures of NASA’s programs have all been traceable to one problem each time. If you have zero problems, though, you get stuff that goes very, very right – like the Mars rovers.

  2. i didn’t read it like that. i read it like these rocks are a barcode to mars history, but they can’t decipher that yet, and they can’t decipher it because they don’t have the entire barcode yet. or something.

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