From Mission Control... no kidding

Subject: From Mission Control... no kidding
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 19:06:36 -0400 (EDT)

      CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla, April 7 (Reuter) - Mission control on Monday
offered the crew of the space shuttle Columbia some tongue-in-cheek reasons
for the early end to their mission. 

    A list of the ``top 10 reasons why we are really coming home early'' was
faxed to the astronauts in their morning mail. 

    Officially, a malfunctioning power generator was blamed for cutting short
the planned 16-day mission and bringing it home on Tuesday. Among mission
control's alternative explanations were: 

    -- Crew forgot to do their taxes before they left and tax day is
approaching April 15. 

    -- Hale Bopp comet aliens got way too close for comfort. 

    -- NASA TV ratings were low. 

    -- 0.J. Simpson trial is over and CNN needs something to cover. 

    -- Crew left stove on back in Houston. 

    -- Need to be home to see soap opera ``Friends'' on Thursday. 

    -- Energiser bunny wasn't on board.