Moon program parked for good

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triptychr's avatar

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — One small step for man; one giant fine for mankind.

Forty years following man's first landing on the moon, NASA has finally revealed why one of history's greatest feats has not been repeated since 1972: parking tickets.

“It is with sincere shame and apology we tell the world today that yes, not only is there a race of humanoid beings that exist on the moon, but that they also have a traffic ordinance,” NASA spokesperson Bruce Buckingham told a stunned-to-silence press corps Monday.

According to Buckingham, it turns out that the now famous “Sea of Tranquility” site where the Apollo 11 lunar module landed is a designated “no parking” zone to the resident lifeforms, referred to as “Mooninites.” The large stages left behind during the descent and ascent of the model are considered to be in violation.

“The Mooninites sent us notice,” Buckingham said, “but mail between the earth and moon is slow. We had our Apollo 12 mission before we even knew what had happened, but thankfully it had landed on top of a parking garage.”

When the Mooninite's order to “move your two 1969 Eagles within 14 days or face consecutive daily fines of 25 moonbucks” was finally received in March 1970, NASA officials at first considered it a joke. However, a look at satellite imagery revealed the apparent truth.

“By the time we took as close a look as we could, we saw each of the lunar module stages absolutely covered in small, thin, pink objects, plus some sort of locking mechanism we came to call a 'moonboot'” Buckingham said. “And each new day, another pink object could be counted on each piece of equipment. It had become clear we were dealing with a very real situation.”

A team was hastily assembled the following month to return to the moon and address the issue. Unfortunately, Apollo 13 was perhaps a little too hastily assembled and unable to complete its mission. It was not until January 1971 when Apollo 14 could launch and negotiate with the Mooninites.

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell said that the initial meeting with the Mooninites was peaceful, for the most part.

“They made us wait in line a long time,” he said. “We felt a little indignant about it, but there was something strangely calming about it, too; like we weren't so far away from home at all. But when we got to the front of the line, they asked to see our driver's licenses and, well, we never actually had any for space stuff.”

Following the failure of Apollo 14, the crew of Apollo 15 made sure to return with Earth-issued licenses that met Mooninite specifications. After filling out the paperwork, the Mooninites asked the crew to schedule a court date.

“We were really hoping it could be handled that day, but you know how these things go,” Apollo 15 astronaut Alfred Worden told NASA upon returning.

A date in April 1972 was the earliest that could be set, and a team of two astronauts and one lawyer set out to argue the case for the Earth. Unfortunately, one of the presiding Mooninite law enforcement officials could not be present for the hearing, causing it to be postponed until the next available date for NASA. The matter was even further complicated by the lunar rover running a red light on the way to the courthouse.

The Earth's day in court finally came to fruition with the Apollo 17 crew in December 1972. Unfortunately — again — the Earth lost and was ordered to pay the full amount of the parking tickets, plus the red light violation.

“We were prepared to pay the fine,” Buckingham said, “until we and the Mooninites determined that 1 moonbuck actually exchanges to about 18.7 million American dollars. We told them we would send them a check and, honestly, have been dodging the whole thing since.”

With NASA's lunar plans seemingly on permanent hold — President Barack Obama has said that “it's either nationalized healthcare or parking tickets, and I'm sticking with healthcare, dammit” — so with it seem the wonder and dreams of many on Earth to more deeply explore our closest neighbor. Some, however, do not see that as being such a bad thing.

“The moon's turned out to be too much like Earth, seriously,” Mitchell said. “We're not missing a thing.”
Doing a little research for this farce, it really is quite amazing that we've managed to land on the moon six times. Hopefully, we really can go back there some day.

Happy 40th anniversary, moon landing!

July 20, 1969

And yes, I know this was posted on July 19. It's tomorrow's news today!
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NycterisA's avatar
I never thought of that. :lol: And the exchange rate is probably just getting worse! ;)