A secret coded message was hidden on the large parachute used to land the Perseverance rover safely on the floor on Mars. And no, it wasn’t a clandestine message to the Martians. It was a message of inspiration for us people.
But it surely additionally got here as a problem.
Throughout a information briefing on February 22, Allen Chen, the entry, descent and touchdown lead for the mission revealed there was a secret message within the parachute.
“Along with enabling unbelievable science, we hope our efforts in our engineering can encourage others,” he mentioned. “Generally we go away messages in our work for others to search out for that goal, so we invite you all to offer it a shot and present your work.”
Puzzle lovers around the globe rapidly went to work, and it didn’t take lengthy.
Adam Steltzner, Perseverance’s chief engineer, confirmed “the web” had cracked the code late Monday night time on Twitter.
Hidden within the 70-foot (21-meter) parachute’s pink and white sample was a binary code with the phrase “Dare mighty issues” — a well-known expression from President Theodore Roosevelt, espoused by those that work on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The outer rings of the sample additionally characteristic GPS coordinates for JPL’s workplaces in Pasadena, California: 34°11’58” N 118°10’31” W.
Chen later confirmed on Twitter that the code was the mind youngster of programs engineer Ian Clark, who helped conduct assessments of the supersonic parachute, in addition to performing a number of different duties for the Perseverance rover group.
Clark is a crossword hobbyist, and mentioned solely about six individuals knew concerning the coded message earlier than this week.
Chen expressed how grateful he’s for the flexibility to work with such inventive individuals at JPL. “It’s a sense of being very lucky on the finish… that I get to work at a spot with people who find themselves each nice engineers and nice individuals, and we nonetheless get to dare mighty issues collectively,” he mentioned at Monday’s briefing.
Secret messages on the rovers are usually not new. The Curiosity rover has holes in its wheels that creates marks within the Mars regolith that spells out “JPL” in Morse Code.
It was additionally revealed that Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all 5 of NASA’s Mars rovers in growing dimension through the years — harking back to the decals on vehicles that painting the household using inside.
Deputy venture supervisor Matt Wallace mentioned extra hidden “Easter eggs” ought to begin exhibiting up on Perseverance when extra photos of the rover itself are taken and beamed again to Earth.
“Undoubtedly, positively ought to maintain a very good lookout,” he mentioned.