Dalston’s space engineers are left to reflect this morning on the mixed fortunes of the borough’s space programme as the rival Rosetta probe that has been tracking a comet is hours away from crashing itself into the 4km-wide ball of ice and dust.
The probe is sending back pictures as it edges closer to Comet 67P, unlike the Dalston Aeronautics and Space Administration (DASA) KometKrash4000 probe which is mostly smouldering on the roof of Argos.
‘The odds was always against us,’ said DASA’s Chief Scientific Officer Mr Clarkson Testarossa from his bolt hole in Bolivia, ‘We did lack the funds available to our colleagues at the European Space Agency.’
‘We lacked a lot of things, actually,’ he said. ‘Scientists, for one. Engineers. Actual experience of intergalactic space exploration. A rocket… stuff like that.’
After DASA’s heroic but ultimately doomed attempt to put a man into orbit around the Earth, Mr Testarossa stated that the agency would in future focus on unmanned missions ‘because, y’know, the volunteers to be astronauts dried up after all the death and the grieving widows and everything. Those inconsolable orphans did not help our recruitment drive one bit, let me tell you.’
KometKrash4000 had been intended to be the first man-made object to impact a comet from the outer solar system. The mission differed from that of the Rosetta probe which is expected to make contact with 67P at a gentle walking pace.
‘No, we was going to really twat it one,’ said Mr Testarossa, ‘I mean, if you’re going to travel 7.9 billion kilometres you want something to show for it, don’t you? A bloody big crater at least. Explosions. Aliens on fire and that.’
The design of the Dalston probe remains classified but was constructed around ‘drone-based technology’, ‘firework-based technology’ and ‘a massive-squeezy-bottle-full-of-petrol-based technology’.
KometCrash4000 was launched last Tuesday and achieved altitudes sufficient to excite the interest of the Civil Aviation Authority’s lawyers before a guidance system malfunction led to an emergency ‘landing’ and the now traditional DASA conflagration on the roof of Argos and several back gardens in the Colvestone Crescent area of the borough, some of which are still on fire.
Mr Testarossa told the Mercury that he is now ‘rethinking the whole space malarkey’ and is considering going into the ‘DIY home surgery game’, or possibly the nuclear fusion business, ‘because y’know, the French do it. How hard can it be?’
We attempted to get a quote from Argos but they told us to take one of those little tickets and the queue took ages, so we left it.