At 10am this morning, NASA reported that it had found evidence of a highly advanced alien civilisation on Mars. At 10.20am the general public reported they no longer gave a shit.
The scenes at NASA headquarters were jubilant:
“This is amazing!” said mission leader John Dayson. “We thought we’d find some fossilised microbes at best. We never expected this. An actual, still existing, intelligent civilisation!”
“It’s the single most important discovery in the entire history of the human race,” said the President of the United States.
“It doesn’t mean anything to me,” said Phil Gaines of Eastbourne. “I’ve still got a melanoma. What have the aliens ever done for me?”
“I’ve still got to get to work every day,” said Jane Harvey of Liverpool. “So we’ve discovered aliens. So what? They were there before we found them. Now we just know. It’s still the same sky.”
Paul Herriot from the Isle of Skye, gave us a big shrug. “At first, I was really impressed. Wow, aliens! You know? But after a couple of minutes I’d completely absorbed it into my world view. They’re just there, like cornflakes or flagpoles.”
John and the rest of the staff at NASA were appalled.
“There was a massive surge of media interest for the first few minutes,” said John. “The biggest hashtag on twitter was #askanalien. And then it just dropped off. The most game-changing discovery in the history of man, completely altering our position in the universe, and suddenly everyone was more interested in celebrity fucking Masterchef.”
John’s deputy project leader Stephanie Hale was similarly shocked:
“It happened when we found water. Once it had been discovered, no one cared anymore. It was like the hunt was over. Everybody just figuratively rolled over and went to sleep. But this is aliens. Aliens! What’s wrong with people?”
Even politicians failed to summon much enthusiasm. When asked in an interview what he thought the aliens would look like, David Cameron replied:
“I don’t care as long as they take our share of refugees and detract from the pig story.”