Editor's note: This post was submitted by the MEX team at ESOC this morning, 1 April, and we must admit, while we're surprised at the suddenness of this development (and we promise we hadn't previously heard any mention of this around the ESOC Canteen at lunch), this is not entirely unexpected. Ever since that 'other' Mars mission took off, public interest in the venerable Mars Express spacecraft has plummeted. Desperate times require desperate measures!
As the 'Mission Formerly Known as Mars Express' is almost 13 years old, and the younger, sprightlier ExoMars/TGO is now getting all the attention, the team decided the only way to rescue MEX's sagging public rankings was to have a rebranding.
As is the thing to do these days, we put it out to the public to rename the mission. Sorry if you didn't get a chance to suggest names and vote on the best, but the polls are now closed and we are pleased to announce the new name of Europe's first – and dare we say original! – Mars mission.
In reverse order, the selections are:
- Mars Express:
0 votes1 vote (updated due to a hanging chad and because our Flight Director says so)
- Mars Express (but with added lens flares): 1 vote
- It's Still Alive? Wow! 1 vote
- Thunderchild II: 3 votes
- Name it after some scientist, I don't know who: 6 votes
- The Hoff: 8 votes
- A strange symbol like what Prince did: 19 votes
- Bring Me the Chocolate, Mars Explorer: A lot of votes (we lost count and then the system crashed)
- Spacey McSpaceFace: 5,983,462 votes
The lawyers in Paris insist we run the risk of legal action if we disregard what was, after all, a public vote of European taxpayers, so the new name is binding and we are now stuck with it. Thank you, Internet.
– From the Spacey McSpaceFace Flight Operations Team