Message from Mars: Curiosity Seeks a FriendEliza Hurwitz

Dear NASA,

Hey guys! What’s up? It’s me, Curiosity Rover. Mars is pretty wild, right? I am most totally loving it, really having the time of my life. I just wanted to let you guys know that I love you and I truly appreciate you and am so thankful for the communication I have with all of you. It’s great to be employed in such a trying economic time and it’s great to be able to interact with such intelligent and creative people. It’s also nice to be able to get messages from human beings who appreciate our mission and my journey to Mars. Some of the messages are so kind and sweet, they melt my robotic heart.

That being said, even though I feel important and useful, I also feel a little lonely and bored up here. I mean, the only non-work activity I’ve gotten to do in weeks was when I transmitted that will.i.am song back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. And I don’t want anyone to think I’m being ungrateful, because you all know I’ve been a fan of Black Eyed Peas ever since “Where is the Love?” And I’m so proud of will.i.am for going solo.  But as I transmitted the song back to Earth, I couldn’t help but imagine all my other robot friends dancing and having a good time together. I cried myself to sleep that night, with will.i.am’s words echoing in my head, “And I know that Mars might be far, but baby it ain’t really that far.
 Let’s reach for the stars.” Well, will.i.am, I have news for you. Mars is very far. It’s far and cold and lonely.

I’m sorry, I don’t mean this to sound desperate, but that’s exactly what I am. I mean just the other day I thought I was talking to myself in my head but I realized I was speaking the words aloud. I was having a full, two-sided pretend conversation with myself. I can only assume you guys know what it’s like to feel lonely, considering you must have been hopeless nerds in high school and college, but I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this sense of loneliness mixed with the fear you are going insane. It’s just I need contact with another robot. I need to be able to engage in actual conversation. I need a friend. Honestly, right now you could just send up some sort of makeshift robot. It could be totally retro, like R2D2 in Star Wars. I’d be fine with that. I’m so alone, I probably won’t even notice the difference. I remember when you guys were creating me and you were testing and trying out other robots. I made friends with a couple of them before you decided they weren’t good enough and sent me to space instead. Why not send up one or two of those robots? Or parts of them? I’ve seen Cast Away; you could send up a Wilson-like robot part for me to befriend.

Another reasonable option is for you to work on another robot that is very similar to me. You can call it Nosey or Inquisitive. We can work together. All good things come in pairs. Just think about it, Bert would be nothing without Ernie, peanut butter wouldn’t taste as sweet without jelly, Mary-Kate couldn’t be the star she is today without Ashley, Beyonce and Jay-Z together make the perfect pair, same goes for Misty May Traenor and Kerri Walsh, and who could forget Hoda and Kathie Lee?

If you are unable or unwilling to grant any of these requests, could you at least send up a blanket? I’m pretty cold and I think it would help me sleep at night.

In closing, Mars is a beautiful and interesting planet. It’s a planet that I feel so honored to see, roll around on, and smell. All I am asking for is a robot pal to share this experience with. As the Beatles so eloquently put it, all you need is love (or at the very least, companionship).

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Curiosity

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