In the video, you can see the colorful orange and white parachute over the rover as it helped slow the descent of the spacecraft.
“You may notice the pattern that is on the parachute here,” Allen Chen, the rover’s entry, descent and landing leader, said Monday. “The distinct patterns are useful in helping us determine the timing orientation of the parachute. Also, the contrasting sections can be helpful in tracking different parts of the parachute as it inflates.
“In addition to enabling incredible science, we hope that our efforts and engineering can inspire others. Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find for that purpose. So we invite you to try it out and show your work.” .
The eagle-eyed space fanatics accepted Chen’s challenge and it didn’t take long to unravel the code.
The parachute’s hidden message includes the motto of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “Dare to Mighty Things,” as well as the GPS coordinates of JPL in Pasadena, California.
The messages were embedded in the parachute using binary code within the white and orange crowns, or cloth triangles. The inner part of the parachute includes “Dare to Mighty Things”, with each word in an expanding ring of bugles. The band around the parachute is where the GPS coordinates for JPL can be found.
The motto is borrowed from a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Much better is it to dare to mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even if marked by failure … than to be among those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat “.
The rover was built by the JPL team, where the mission is managed.
Ian Clark, the rover’s systems engineer, was the mastermind behind the binary code pattern on the parachute.
It is not the first Easter egg to be included with the Perseverance rover, and the mission team has suggested that more will be revealed in the images returned by the rover in the future.
The rover carries silicon chips that contain the names of nearly 11 million people who participated in the “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign, as well as 155 essays submitted by students who participated in a rover naming contest. Perseverance also has a metal plaque as a tribute to healthcare workers during the pandemic.
On the deck of the rover is a symbol-laden calibration target for Mastcam-Z, or the rover’s pair of zoom cameras. The calibration target includes color samples to adjust the camera settings, but also symbols of a man and a woman, a fern, a dinosaur, a rocket traveling from Earth to Mars, a model of the inner solar system, DNA and cyanobacteria, which is one of the oldest life forms on Earth.
The lens also includes the slogan “Two worlds, one beginning”, which alludes to the idea that Earth and Mars were created from the same dust that circled the Sun billions of years ago.
The calibration target for the SHERLOC instrument, or Raman and Luminescence Scanning Habitable Environments for Organics and Chemicals, also contains some hidden gems.
The bottom row includes space suit materials to see how they react over time to radiation in the Martian atmosphere. One is a piece of polycarbonate that could be used for a helmet visor. It also functions as a geocaching target and is etched with 221B Baker Street, the address of beloved fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
The top row, which will be used to adjust the instrument settings, includes a portion of the Martian meteorite.
Curiosity, companion of perseverance, also carries its share of Easter eggs. When the rover began exploring the Martian surface in August 2012, it left zigzag patterns in the red dust based on the tread of its aluminum wheels.