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March 3, 2014

#1337: Hack


[[A white-on-black drawing of the ISEE-3

ICE probe.]]

The ISEE-3

ICE probe was launched in 1978. Its mission ended in 1997 and it was sent a shutdown signal.

[[Back to black-on-white text.]]

In 2008, we learned–to our surprise–that the probe didn’t shut down. It’s still running and it has plenty of fuel. …and in 2014, its orbit brings it near Earth.

[[Two figures talking.]]

Figure 1: We could sent it on a new mission… except we no longer have the equipment to send commands to it.

Figure 2: Can’t we-

[[Camera frame closes in slightly on the first figure.]]

Figure 1: NASA won’t rebuild it. “Too expensive.”

Figure 2: Seriously?

Figure 2: I know, right? So the internet found the specs and we went to work.

[[Camera zooms out as the two figures walk through an area with two other figures seated at desks working on laptops; one of the seated figures is wearing a headset.]]

Figure 1: We’ve convinced them to give us time on the Madrid DSN transmitter and hacked the maser to support the uplink. And today’s the big day.

[[Camera focuses on the figure with the headset.]]

Headset Operator 1: Transmitting… We have a signal! We have control!

[[Camera flips back to the first figure.]]

Figure 1: Okay, transmit the new comet rendezvous maneuver sequen-

Off screen: What the hell?

[[Camera zooms back out to show all four figures.]]

Headset Operator 1: My console went dead!

Operator 2: Mine too!

Figure 1: What’s happening?

[[Camera back to figure with headset, staring at screen.]]

Headset Operator 1: There’s a new signal going out over the transmitter!

Figure 1 (from offscreen): A bug?

Headset Operator 1: Someone else is in the system!

[[Camera switches to the second operator.]]

Operator 2: Kill the connection!

Headset Operator 1 (from offscreen): I can’t find it!

Operator 2: They’re firing the probe’s engines!

Headset Operator 1 (from offscreen): No!!

[[Camera switches back to the headset operator.]]

Figure 1 (from offscreen): Who’s doing this?? Stop them!

Operator 2 (from offscreen): I’m trying!

Headset Operator 1: Look! My screen!

[[The camera zooms back to show all of them, and a message is being shown on the headset operator’s screen, in red.]]



[[Camera cuts to a pool with two figures in it.]]

[[Camera zooms out to show that the pool is on the roof of a downtown building. We see the figures’ speech coming from it.]]

Burn: Crash?

Crash: Yeah, Burn?

[[Same skyline view.]]

Burn: Make a wish.

[[A meteor passes through the sky above the city skyline.]]