An exploration probe sent to map the desolate outer reaches of the galaxy has unexpectedly encountered long lines of traffic cones. Astonished scientists are trying to figure out why there are traffic calming measures in a place where absolutely nothing has happened for billions of years.
Problems with the mission became apparent yesterday when the probe, which was travelling at half the speed of light, suddenly slowed to between 30 and 50 mph. Scientists repeatedly asked the probe if it was nearly there yet, until it malfunctioned and tried to turn itself around.
The first high-resolution photographs sent by the Newport-Pagnell voyager show what appears to be ghostly roadworks in the vast emptiness of space. The probe has since caught up with an earlier space craft that was launched in 1968. Scientists have left a safe stopping distance of three inches in case the first one should brake suddenly.