Calgary

NASA parody Twitter account SarcasticRover celebrates 3 years of nuisance

The parody Twitter account was created by a Calgary screenwriter who doesn't think it would be so awesome to be on an indefinite mission to the Red Planet.

Calgary writer behind comedic tweets has over 137,000 followers

At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Jason Filiatrault poses in the "Mars yard" where all rovers are tested before being deployed into deep space. (Jason Filiatrault)

In the days leading up to Curiosity Rover's touchdown on Mars, like any good science nerd, Jason Filiatrault's eyes were glued to social media.

It was August 2012 and NASA was sending real-time updates via MarsCuriosity — a Twitter account that gave a fictional voice to the lady robot embarking on an indefinite mission to the Red Planet.

"Their rover was very chipper and very happy and very glad to be there and I just didn't buy that," said Filiatrault.

And so, SarcasticRover was born.

The parody Twitter account, which has over 137,000 followers, provides a narrative of what it would be like to be alone in deep space, collecting rocks and stuff.

"I would definitely be sad," said the Calgary screenwriter.

But three years after landing on Mars and she's more "bitterly resigned" than depressed, says Filiatrault. These days, he likes to keep his rover enthusiastic about science, "but pretty cranky about everything else."

Filiatrault says the staff who operate the real Curiosity Rover at NASA have been "pretty cool" about SarcasticRover. "They all sort of started following the account," he said. Then they invited him to come visit them at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"And I was really surprised because, you know, they could have been upset about me kind of being a jerk about things but I'm glad they took it in the spirit that I intended it, which was fun and really embracing science and celebrating what they do."

Filiatrault has always made it clear on his Twitter account page that he's not associated with the space program.

"Heaven forbid anyone think that I'm actually representing NASA. By no means am I doing that."

He's currently developing an animated series based off the SarcasticRover and is exploring ways to turn the adventures of the lonely robot into a book or TV show.

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