HOUSTON, Texas — The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has contacted NASA with some incredible news. It hasn’t just found water on Mars — it’s found a fortune cookie!
The roving robot runs on solar power, and since it is currently unexposed to sunlight during the Martian winter, scientists weren’t expecting to receive a transmission from it until November — if ever.
“The Spirit rover is currently experiencing temperatures lower than it’s really designed for,” says space scientist Dr. William Lucci. “There was a likelihood that it wouldn’t survive the winter in working order.”
That makes the transmission doubly surprising. First, for the incredible data it carried, second because it was able to send a transmission at all.
“It makes a kind of sense,” says Lucci. “Bizarrely enough, it’s as though the fortune cookie ‘cured’ the rover.”
The cookie found by the rover was in the form of ice crystals. Chemical analysis showed that the cookie was subtly different from regular cookies.
Dr. William Lucci says chemical analysis shows the fortune cookie contains rare ‘God’ molecule.
regular cookies. “It’s not generally known,” says Lucci, “and scientists don’t like to talk about it because it’s impossible to explain, but studies have shown that a fortune cookie changes in discernable ways after it has been exposed to the Martian atmosphere.”
An experiment conducted by Australia’s McMurphy University in 2005 found that fortune cookies, unlike regular cookies, fluoresce under ultra-violet light. Fortune cookies also seem to contain an extra molecular component that has yet to be identified and has been dubbed by some as the “God molecule.” The Martian cookie, when tested by the rover, turned out to have exactly the same odd characteristics found in the McMurphy University research.
“The real question is,” says Lucci, “how did a fortune cookie end up on Mars?”