On Monday, NASA released a never-before-seen video videos Y Audio of the Perseverance rover landing on the surface of Mars. The footage contained a detailed view of the rover parachute – and savvy space enthusiasts soon discovered a hidden message written on it.
It is possible that the parachute appeared to have a purely decorative red and white pattern, but after scientists hinted at the secret message, those familiar with the binary code discovered it within hours.
NASA scientists hid the phrase “Dare to Mighty Things” in the parachute pattern, with parts of the pattern representing different numbers. It is a popular slogan of the Perseverance team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The outer rings of the pattern also feature GPS coordinates for the JPL offices in Pasadena, California: 34 ° 11’58 “N 118 ° 10’31” W.
“In addition to enabling incredible science, we hope that our engineering efforts can inspire others,” Allen Chen, the mission entry, descent and landing leader, said during a news conference Monday. “Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find for that purpose, so we invite everyone to try it out and show their work.”
Perseverance Chief Engineer Adam Steltzner confirmed the message Monday night.
The motto is just one of many Easter eggs hidden aboard the rover, which also bears microchips embossed with nearly 11 million space enthusiast names and the phrase “Explore as one.”
It also bears a COVID-19 monument, in the shape of an aluminum plaque with an image of the Earth held by the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient Greek symbol of healing and medicine.
NASA has a history of including hidden messages in its rovers.
The Curiosity rover, which reached the Red Planet in 2012, has small holes in its wheels that say “JPL” in Morse code. So when Curiosity traveled across the surface of Mars, it etched “JPL” on the ground wherever it went, obliterated shortly after by strong Martian winds.
“These types of ornaments add artistic elements in missions that would otherwise be uniquely dominated by science and technology, as well as lasting tributes to colleagues who have helped pave the way for humanity’s exploration of space,” he said. Jim Bell of Arizona State University, who has helped grace nearly all of NASA’s Mars rovers, including Perseverance.