Poems of the Week

Multi-Million-Mile Mend

by David Hedges

“NASA fixes ‘stuck’ InSight Mars lander by ‘telling it to hit itself with shovel’”
The U.S. Sun

NASA’s InSight lander shows
What every scientist now knows:
The planet Mars is not as dead
As they suspected once. Instead,

Seismometers reveal it shakes
The way Earth does. (They’re called Marsquakes.)
Some nifty onboard sensors track
Its gale-force winds and transmit back

To Earth the daily pressure range,
As well as how the seasons change.
One gauge, however, had bad luck:
The lander’s digging probe got stuck.

It may have been a wayward rock
That caused the unexpected block.
The rod-shaped digger, dubbed “the mole,”
Refused to dig a simple hole,

Denying scientists a clue
To how the planet looked when new.
They figured they would have to bore
Down deep to find how hot the core

Was. Anyway, that’s what they planned.
They built the rod to slide through sand,
But heavy dirt was what they found.
Their resolution was profound:

They asked a farmer, and he said,
“Just knock the mole upside the head.”
It took a year, and lots of skill,
But finally they freed the drill.