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Cosmic Chronicle
News you won't find anywhere else Vol 1, Issue 3 -- 07.01.2008
George Lucas missing
 Lander finds lightsaber on Mars
By Annie Matter
Planetary correspondent
TUCSON, ARIZ. – The Phoenix Mars Lander has made a stunning discovery -- a functioning Star Wars lightsaber buried in the permafrost of the Red Planet!     “We know it works because the darn thing cut off one of Phoenix’s foot pads,” says mission leader Peter Smith from the command center at the University of Arizona. “Of course, the big question is -- how did it get there?”    
Lightsaber on Mars
Phoenix's robotic arm poised over the lightsaber (circled)
     To answer that question, National Security Agency officials rushed to Skywalker Ranch, the 5,156-acre northern California property of Star Wars creator George Lucas. But Lucas wasn’t home, and despite a massive manhunt, he remains missing.
    “As far as anyone can tell, George Lucas is nowhere on Earth,” says NSA lead investigator Tyler Biggs. “And R2D2 and C3PO aren’t talking.”
    Shortly after the shocking June 24 discovery of the lightsaber on Mars, Lucas’ nearest neighbor, Marin County cannabis cultivator Buzzy Blotz, reported seeing a metallic object streak across the sky while he was pruning his crop.
    “It sure looked to be the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy,” he recalls. "George must've been in a hurry to get the heck out of Dodge."
    Just minutes earlier, Phoenix had uncovered the lightsaber while digging for ice in the Dodo-Goldilocks trench in the northern hemisphere of our neighboring planet. And that's when the near mission-ending accident occurred.
    “While retrieving the lightsaber, Phoenix must have activated the laser blade,” says robotic arm manager Bob Bonitz. “Next thing we know, the Lander is spurting hydraulic fluid from its south foot pad.”
    Mission leader Smith adds that the hydraulic leak was quickly staunched and damage to Phoenix wasn’t expected to cripple the Lander’s primary objective to find evidence of life on Mars. But noted University of Roswell extraterrestrial studies professor Dr. Hans Klaatu says the discovery of a lightsaber on Mars proves that there must be alien life somewhere.
George Lucas
George Lucas -- MIA
    “If we didn’t put it there, who did?” muses Klaatu. “It appears that Mr. Lucas isn’t what he seems.”
    Since Stars Wars is set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” Klaatu theorizes that Lucas is really a Jedi knight sent into the future to combat the Dark Side.
    “But it might not matter so much now that Dick Cheney and his acolytes are almost out of office,” Klaatu tells the Cosmic Chronicle. “With this historic discovery, George Lucas’ cover has quite obviously been blown.
    "I don’t blame him for fleeing Earth. If he’d stuck around, he may have ended up in Guantanamo Bay with all those other so-called ‘undesirable’ aliens.”
Uranus crisis looming
Pluto walkout averted at last moment
OLSO, NORWAY -- International Astronomy Union officials defused a potentially explosive situation by finally extending an olive branch to the demoted planet Pluto.
    Ever since runty Pluto was stripped of planetary status on Aug. 24, 2006, it has been distressed and it recently threatened to leave the solar system completely, says Sanford Beech, spokesman for the Confederation of Outer Planets.
    “First, they name the planet after a god of the dead, then Disney gives the same name to that stupid, slobbering cartoon dog, then they demote it to ‘dwarf’ status,” notes Beech. “How much indignity can one heavenly body take?”
Demoted Pluto
    But in a face-saving move, IAU officials offered to name all far-flung dwarf planets “plutoids,” and that seemed to placate Pluto.
    “Demoting poor little Pluto after all these years was like losing a member of the family,” admits Jana Ticha, chair of the IAU Committee on Small Body Nomenclature. “The least we could do was to toss Pluto this bone.”
    While the former ninth planet has apparently been satisfied, Beech warns that the Solar System's seventh planet, Uranus, is now demanding a name change.
    “Uranus wants to change its name to something cooler, like Xanadu or James Bond,” says Beech. “After all, how would you like to be named Uranus and go though eternity sounding like an asshole?”

Next issue: Death of a legend
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