When computer nerds take command of one of humanity’s most ambitious science ventures, you know there will be some fun involved.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the home of mission control for the Perseverance and Curiosity Mars rovers, harnesses the brilliance of its staff and the fact that tens of millions of people tune in to see its work. . of landing craft on Mars, to sprinkle your missions with puzzles and hidden messages that need decoding.
If only the IRS were so playful!
In NASA’s recently released video of Perseverance deploying his parachute, mission director and leader Allen Chen announced that hidden within the strange white and orange shapes at the bottom of the parachute was a message hidden in binary code.
“So we invite you all to give it a try and show your work,” Chen said, with “all of you” in this case referring to the entire Internet user base.
Unsurprisingly, it took people just six hours to decode the message hidden in the parachute, matching the color variations to the binary code, before translating it into English letters and numbers.
– Adam Steltzner (@steltzner) February 23, 2021
“Dare Mighty Things,” read the parachute, NASA’s JPL motto, with the outermost ring of the parachute containing the GPS coordinates of its California facility.
“Oh Internet, is there something you can’t do?” wrote chief perseverance engineer Adam Steltzner in a tweet.
Taken from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt in which he noted that “far better is to dare to mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even if marked by failure”, the slogan perfectly captures the spirit of JPL, which undertakes many of the most ambitious projects. from NASA. Projects.
Another joke about the current mission to Mars has Sherlock Holmes’s fictitious address, 221B Baker Street, pasted along one of the lenses of the main camera of the rover, known as “Analysis of habitable environments with Raman and luminescence for organic and chemical products”. Can you see why?
Curiosity, the previous Mars rover, had the JPL Morse Code Spelling embedded in its wheels, effectively putting a librarian’s stamp on every square meter of Martian dust the rover passed during its long sojourn on the Red Planet.
(CLOCK the video of Perseverance makes his big landing on Mars below).
HELP your friends join in the fun – share this story with them …