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Mars probe makes shocking discovery

NASA officials today reported an astonishing breakthrough in the search for signs of life on Mars. The discovery of a previously unknown Wal-Mart on the Martian surface is being hailed as clear evidence that the mysterious red planet may harbor an advanced race of beings capable of obtaining duct tape for 99 cents.

However, scientists admit to being baffled by the unexpected finding made by the U.S. space rover Spirit.

"We thought we might find a trace of gray hematite, an iron oxide mineral that forms in environments where water is present. Water, of course, being necessary to support life," said Dr. Fred Houston. "Nobody dreamed we'd stumble across a commercial structure that suggests the presence of an intelligent life form with access to a galaxy of material goods at reasonable prices."

Several leading astro-economists theorize that other businesses may have once existed nearby but disappeared in the shadow of the dominant Wal-Mart. According to unconfirmed reports, the robotic probe may also have detected a fragment of fossilized styrofoam emblazoned with the words "Quarter-Pounder with Cheese."

A Wal-Mart jet propulsion specialist would "neither confirm nor deny" the presence of a superstore on Mars, but said the company makes no secret of its desire to cover two-thirds of the earth's surface with retail space.

Some NASA team members suspect Wal-Mart may ultimately be seeking to squeeze the space agency out of business by selling robotic space rovers for $19.95 instead of the NASA pricetag of $800 million.

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