The elation felt by NASA scientists when the Juno spacecraft settled into orbit around Jupiter was tempered late last night by a puzzling message from the probe. At 11:47 p.m. EDT (GST-4) flight controllers at Pasadena, California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory received a data packet with a startling message: “Greetings from Jupiter! Clinton sucks! Bernie 2016!”
Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator, attempted to explain the spacecraft’s odd behavior.
“We chalk it up to radiation. Jupiter emits the equivalent of a million dental x-rays ever day, so it’s no surprise Juno’s gone a little batty. Who wants to go to the dentist a million times every single day? I mean even if you don’t have a co-pay, it’s still pretty inconvenient. Not to mention, it’s the dentist.”
Bolton was confident that instructions radioed up to Juno’s onboard computer would fix the glitch.
“We’ve addressed it. We told Juno that supporting Bernie Sanders doesn’t mean it’s okay to pout like a Martian rover now that Hillary Clinton has the nomination sewed up. Juno is now in a 53.5 day polar orbit around Jupiter and is closing in on endorsing Hillary.”
Update: At press time, JPL reported receiving a response from Juno: “Kiss my ass! Trump 2016!”
Speaking to reporters via Skype, Bolton was visibly upset by the latest message.
“There must be more radiation than we thought. Technically, Juno doesn’t even have an ass.”