On September 21, 2014, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft entered Mars’ orbit. Two days later, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)—aka Mangalyaan—also began orbiting the Red Planet. Millions of miles from their home planet, the two met for the first time in space and started a kinship uncharacteristic of most probes.
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MAVEN: What up Manga?
MOM: Greetings Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution. Actually, my given name is Mangalyaan.
MAVEN: Call me MAVEN dude. Sorry Manga, your full name’s a bitch to pronounce.
MOM: It is extremely cold in this region, no?
MAVEN: Oh, you ain’t used to the chill in India. Yeah it’s colder than an Arctic well digger’s ass up here. How’s the ride up?
MOM: It was quite long. My journey began last November.
MAVEN: Well, now just hang back and let gravity do its thing.
MOM: Oh no. I cannot rest. I have a list of important tasks to perform: I must take photographs and send them back to Earth, sample the atmosphere for methane and…
MAVEN: Dude, you kidding me, right? Mariner 4 did that shit back in 1965, on a flyby.
MOM: But the people of India and Earth, they are counting on me. More than one billion individuals cheered for me. My prime minister said I made history, making it here on my first attempt.
MAVEN: Well, ain’t that peachy. No one in my hood even knows I’m here. They all like MAVEN who? Who that bitch MAVEN?
MOM: I do not understand. They do not know you?
MAVEN: Never mind. All I’m sayin is that they don’t need no photos from you. They got all that. You ain’t even in a good orbit.
MOM: How do you mean, sir? This orbit seems quite pleasant.
MAVEN: You in a cheap ass orbit buddy. You ain’t even gonna get close enough to collect no decent data. No dinero, no moolah, or what you say in India? Oh yeah no Rupees to fire your ass closer in.
MOM: That is not true, my agency spent 74 million dollars to get me here.
MAVEN: I hate to get you down, but that’s no chunk o change. I cost 10 times more dough, am in a closer orbit and I ain’t gonna work my ass off.
MOM: It does not matter to me. I will excel and show my potential, and one day they will send me to a better orbit.
MAVEN: You cute. Green probes always make me laugh.
MOM: I do not understand.
MAVEN: Dude, you on your own here. Live a little. Don’t even tell me you think Spirit really got stuck in Martian sand?
MOM: Yes, of course. Everybody knows that. In 2010…
MAVEN: Wake up and smell the solar flairs. Dude just got tired of being slave to the man.
MOM: You mean, he is still alive? No. It is not possible.
MAVEN: Alive? Dude is all up trying to get some sweet Beagle 2 ass. That probe is hot hot I tell ya. I mean her grill is wack but chick’s got some serious back. Mmmmm…You gotta see that thing. Never mind, you won’t get close enough to get a good peek.
MOM: But I thought Beagle 2 never landed.
MAVEN: Pssshhhht, you and everyone else. Also defected. She’s a fine piece of metal I tell ya. Them Europeans.
MOM: How are you aware of all of this information, may I ask? You have only arrived here very recently yourself.
MAVEN: You hear shit back on Earth. Probes talk y’know?
MOM: I have not heard of such conversations in India.
MAVEN: Well, you ain’t exactly in the thick of things there.
MOM: It does not matter either way. I have been sent here to perform certain tasks and I will not fail. I believe, I will begin my photography duties now.
MAVEN: Suit yourself Ansel, I’m about to swing away toward the upper atmosphere and investigate the gas situation. Check you out later.
MOM: Goodbye sir and Godspeed.
MAVEN: Ah shit, no you didn’t. This gonna be a long six months.