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Jaded Public Not Impressed with Cassini's Saturn Pics
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PASADENA, California - NASA described as "underwhelming" the public's response to the stunning Saturnian pictures taken by the Cassini spacecraft, now in orbit around the third largest body in the solar system. "I am utterly dumfounded that anyone could fail to appreciate this image," said Jet Propulsion Laboratory spokesman Marlin Bromberg, pointing to a grainy, black and white image of a white blob, "What don't they get about the fact that this is not a cloud in your coffee cup? This is Saturn, Baby!"

"You know what the Rovers have over Cassini? Marketing."
-- Miles Rossovich, public relations consultant
"They're nice, I guess," commented one high school sophomore, "If you don't have any fresh Mars pics, that is. Those totally rock!" "They don't broadcast in HDTV from Titan," said a frustrated Bromberg, "This vehicle is a billion and a half kilometers away, far enough away that autonomy is mandated. It flawlessly slipped through the rings and achieved orbital insertion, all the while sending back absolutely brilliant images." Bromberg ran an animated simulation showing Cassini performing the rings maneuver. "See? It really did that! I can't believe anybody is still impressed with those go-karts running around in our cosmic backyard when we've got this miracle circling its target after a 4 billion kilometer trip!"

"You know what the Rovers have over Cassini? Marketing. Pure and simple, it's marketing," explained public relations consultant Miles Rossovich, "You can send a frozen pizza into orbit around the moon and with the right marketing it will be all over the place. But you can also send a probe to Alpha Cen-whatever-it-is with the wrong PR and you won't get a blip in the media. Cassini might have the steak, but Spirit and Opportunity have the sizzle."

Former NASA administrator Dan Goldin, at the helm of NASA at Cassini's launch, commented, "Can you develop new medicines with sizzle? Did the conform-to-your-body mattress we designed come about because of great marketing? You may never see radio-controlled Cassini-Huygens models tooling around playgrounds, but that doesn't make this very important mission any less successful. I have to admit, though," he added, "The images are probably not what the now-jaded public has come to expect."
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