A microphone has already been landed on Mars - unfortunately there was a risk of data corruption if the camera hardware it was attached to was turned on, so the microphone itself never got switched on...
The U.S. believes that spying on the whole world somehow gives them early warnings, and they managed to completely miss the Korean War, the German Wall, the Cuba Crisis, the reconquest of South Vietnam by the Vietcong, the end of the Somoza Regime in Nicaragua, the polish Solidarnosc, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the subsequent dissolution first of nearly all communist regimes and then the Soviet Union, the conquest of Kuwait by Iraq, 9/11, Somalia, the Arabian Spring, the turning of the Arabian Spring into a strengthening of the extreme wahhabitian Islam, the ISIL conquest of North West Iraq, the annection of Crimea, and the pro-russian uprising in the eastern Ukraine.
But they were pretty sure they find Weapons of Mass Destruction in post Gulf War Iraq.
Somehow the whole spying does not yield the expected results. I wonder if still more spying and mass surveillance will solve this. And more IT infrastructure to dig through the data. And still more money to pay more analysts. And do everything to weaken any attempt to make communication secure.
I travelled with a large external hard disk as well, once - which also got taken to one side and swabbed for stuff. Internal monologue: OH NO MY PRECIOUS DATA
On another occasion, I had fun with my home-made, Arduino-powered dSLR timelapse gadget - it got thoroughly inspected by the TSA. I'd already opted out of the backscatter X-ray whatsit, only for a swab-for-explosives test to give a (false-)positive. Eek. Cue being taken to one side, where they looked in my bag and found the timelapse-o-tron...
To give the screeners their due, they let me go after a few minutes - after I'd heard their complaints about the potential radiation doses they and the passengers were receiving from the backscatter X-ray thingers, and after I'd provided advice on what sort of camera to look into buying for a budding photographer.
Security fun elsewhere: carrying a plastic bag of loose change through the Eurostar security in Brussels (it basically looked like an amorphous, completely opaque lump on the X-ray) - and a random customs check at a UK airport giving a (false-)positive swab for some sort of illicit drugs. Eek.