HOUSE TO DOWNSIZE SOLAR SYSTEM
A press release Bob Haberle reporting
WASHINGTON D.C. The House Appropriations subcommittee on NASA oversight,
in another effort to reduce the NASA budget, passed a resolution today
to downsize the solar system. According to an unnamed congressional staffer,
House Republicans felt there has been "too much redundancy in the solar
system" and that streamlining the 4.5 billion year old planetary system
is long overdue. Such action would give NASA fewer places to go and this
would allow the agency to carry out its space exploration goals whithin
the funding profile that the House proposed earlier this summer.
"Look, we have three terrestrial planets" said Congressman Rip U.
Apart (R, Del.), "and only one of them really works! So why not get rid
of the other two and clean up the neighborhood?" Most subcommittee memmbers
felt that the while downsizing was definitely in the cards, eliminating
both Mars and Venus was going too far. "We have too many international
commitments to Mars." said Rush N. Hater (R, Calif.). "So I think we should
keep Mars and dump Venus. Its too hot to live on, and liberal Democrats
keep using it as an example of what global warming can do. So from a
political and practical point of view, Venus has to go."
Also at risk is the planet Mercury which lacks support because of its
small size and poor visibility from Earth. "Who needs it?" asked Congressman
Newt Onian (R, N.C.). "Have you ever seen it? I haven't. So what good is it?
We just don't need useless planets. And speaking of useless planets, what
about the asteroids? If you've seen one, you've seen them all. So I say
we ought to get rid of the little boogers once and for all."
However, the donwsizing recommendations do not stop with the terrestrial
planets. The resolution also calls for a reduction in the number of gas
giants which contain most of tge planetary mass in the solar system. Most
subcommitttee members favor retaining Jupiter and Saturn, and eliminating
Uranus and Neptune. "Jupiter employs the most molecules, and Saturn has
those pretty little rings everyone likes." said Rep. Con Mann (R, Fla.).
"On the other hand, Uranus is a bore and its rings are dirty. And Neptune,
for God's sake, is just too far away. So begone with those ugly bruisers."
But the influential Wright I.M. Fornow from South Carolina has publicly
announced he will fight to eliminate Saturn. Fornow is especially miffed
by NASA's success thus far in keeping Cassini, the next mission to Saturn,
alive which he feels is waste of taxpayers money. "If there ain't no
Saturn, then there ain't no Cassini" he exclaimed. The congressman also
expressed concern about sending back-to-back spacecraft bearing Italian
surnames to the outer planets (The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter
The subcommittee was unanimous in its views towards Pluto which they
deemed a moral misfit. "Now here's a planet we can definitely do without."
continued Fornow. "A few years ago, it was the farthest from the sun. Now
its not. Its just too confusing. And now they tell me its really two planets
instead of one. What the hell is going on there?"
The resolution must now be presented to the entire House, where it is
expected to pass easily since only a minority of Representatives have
constituents on the affected planets. NASA Administrator Golden has vowed
to resist any further reductions to the solar system, saying that "NASA
has expended considerable effort to make the planets cheaper, faster, and
better. Much of this work would be wasted if the solar system were downsized"
Critics say, however, that reducing the number of planets will not
produce the expected savings to taxpayers. Textbooks, they note, would have
to be revised to reflect the new arrangements, and facilities would need
to be constructed to remove the planets themselves. The resolution is also
likely to draw strong opposition from religious fundamentalists who have long
opposed the elimination of any of the biblical planets. Thus, the matter is far
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C. Kronberg --- 95/12/11 --- firstname.lastname@example.org