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What’s the secret message on Perseverance rover’s Mars parachute?

By Brooke Villanueva Published Feb 23, 2021 11:07 pm

A secret message was placed on NASA’s Perseverance rover before it landed on the surface of the Red Planet—and only six people knew about it until now.

AP News reported that systems engineer Ian Clark, who has a keen interest in puzzles and is a crossword enthusiast, made use of a binary code to spell out a stirring slogan quoting Theodore Roosevelt, the 26thpresident of the United States.

What did it say? “Dare Mighty Things.”

Photo from Perseverance chief engineer Adam Steltzner's Twitter account

While he tried “to come up with a way of encoding it but not making it too obvious,” it didn’t take long for space hobbyists to crack it after the official release of the parachute images. “I’ll have to be a little bit more creative,” Clark quipped.

The incredible concept was made two years ago as “engineers wanted an unusual pattern in the nylon fabric to know how the parachute was oriented during descent,” the article read.

In the 70-foot parachute’s orange and white strips are also GPS coordinates for the Mars 2020 headquarters at the international space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory situated in Pasadena, California.

Interestingly, it even contains a plaque showing NASA’s five Mars rovers arranged by size upgrades over the years.

There are more surprises waiting to be discovered in the Perseverance Rover, promised deputy project manager Matt Wallace. According to the report, they can be seen as soon as its 7-foot arm “is deployed in a few days and starts photographing under the vehicle, and again when the rover is driving in a couple weeks.”

“Definitely, definitely should keep a good lookout,” he teased.

NASA’sPerseverance Roverhad a successful Mars touchdown on Feb. 18, looking “to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.”

Article thumbnails from NASA