In 2003, the lamentable and vulgar government of Britain launched Beagle 2, part of the European Space Agency’s ‘Mars Express’ programme. It contained a pop song fragment by ‘Blur’ and an “artwork” by Damien Hirst to calibrate its cameras and spectrometers. The whole thing was a failure, contact with Beagle 2 being lost six days prior to its scheduled entry into the Martian atmosphere.
Whereas we sent dull pop music and bad art, the Russians have one-upped us again. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first man in space, they’ve taken an icon of Our Lady of Kazan aboard the Soyuz TMA-24 mission.
(With apologies to Comrade First Secretary Krushchev for the paraphrased post title.)