The large parachute utilized by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, because of a puzzle lover on the spacecraft group.
Programs engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Issues” within the orange and white strips of the 70-foot (21-metre) parachute. He additionally included the GPS coordinates for the mission’s headquarters on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Clark, a crossword hobbyist, got here up with the thought two years in the past. Engineers needed an uncommon sample within the nylon material to know the way the parachute was oriented throughout descent. Turning it right into a secret message was “tremendous enjoyable,” he stated Tuesday.
Solely about six folks knew in regards to the encoded message earlier than Thursday’s touchdown, in line with Clark. They waited till the parachute photos got here again earlier than placing out a teaser throughout a televised information convention Monday.
It took just some hours for house followers to determine it out, Clark stated. Subsequent time, he famous, “I will need to be slightly bit extra inventive.”
This illustration supplied by NASA reveals a diagram added over the parachute deployed through the descent of the Mars Perseverance rover because it approaches the floor of the planet on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Programs engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Issues” within the orange and white strips of the 70-foot (21-metre) parachute. He additionally included the GPS coordinates for the mission’s headquarters on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/The Related Press)
“Dare Mighty Issues” — a line from President Theodore Roosevelt — is a mantra at JPL and adorns lots of the heart’s partitions. The trick was “making an attempt to provide you with a means of encoding it however not making it too apparent,” Clark stated.
As for the GPS coordinates, the spot is 10 ft (3 metres) from the doorway to JPL’s customer centre.
Look out for plaque depicting rover household
One other added contact not extensively identified till landing: Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all 5 of NASA’s Mars rovers in growing measurement over time — just like the household automotive decals seen on Earth.
Deputy venture supervisor Matt Wallace guarantees extra so-called hidden Easter eggs. They need to be seen as soon as Perseverance’s 7-foot (2-metre) arm is deployed in a number of days and begins photographing below the car, and once more when the rover is driving in a pair weeks.
“Undoubtedly, undoubtedly ought to maintain a great lookout,” he urged.