Kirk Novak: Life On Earth

The steely rover inches slowly across the charred surface of the planet. The six wheel independent suspension gives “Pick 6” the appearance of a robotic insect as it crawls through dust and over rock. Pick 6 stops with a lurch. Its onboard sensors detect something beneath the surface. The rover extends a robotic arm and begins to scratch at the cracked soil.

A few hundred thousand miles away a team of astronauts monitor the movements of Pick 6 from a spaceship orbiting the planet. As they crowd around a terminal, there is an audible gasp as Pick 6 suddenly stops. A camera affixed to the robotic arm gives a POV shot as the rover begins to unearth a secret from this world. The astronauts titter excitedly. Could it be evidence of water? Volcanic activity? Microorganisms?

Pick 6 moves the robotic arm back and forth with the grace of a Teamster, but the speed of a preservationist. The rover’s work is painstaking, the wait on the spaceship is unbearable. Pick 6 stops shoveling. The robotic arm’s camera zooms in on the excavation site. A red object, remarkably preserved, comes into focus. The words barely legible, in a language that they have never seen: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”


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