It's not exactly the secret origin that Marvel Comics promised us, but a cosmic ray may have given NASA's Mars rover Spirit the superpower of... forgetfulness. Are strange things afoot on the red planet?

Spirit's latest bout of troubles started on January 25th, when it failed to carry out its pre-determined daily duties. But then it went through a short period of... well, robotic amnesia, as it failed to record its activities in its non-volatile memory for a period. Although the probe seems to be working fine now, NASA's John Callas is staying suspicious:

At this time, we don't know whether the problem was a one-time event - whether it was induced by a cosmic ray - or whether it might be an indicator of ageing hardware... We're staying vigilant and keeping an eye out, but right now Spirit's back to where she was.


Personally, whenever a space probe mysteriously stops recording things, I think it's a sign of an alien invasion. You may scoff now, but give it a couple of years, and one of us will be laughing on the other side of our face. The other one... will be dead.