The parachute that helped NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars unfurled in a seemingly random red and white pattern. But turns out there’s more to this.
NASA officials encoded a hidden message in red and white colour in computer binary code. Internet sleuths cracked the code within just 6 hours and revealed that the message in the 3 inner concentric circles read ‘Dare Mighty Things’. This has been the motto of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since years and is inspired by the American President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech in 1899.
The outer ring however represents the coordinates of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) 34°11'58" N by 118°10'31" W, where most of the mission’s work was carried out.
(You can check out how to decode the message hidden in bi-coloured pattern here as Abela Paf, an IT student explains)
But wait, that’s not the only message hidden on the Perseverance!
The Rays of the Sun on the placard contain a chip with messages and names of 10.9 million+ Earthlings in morse code. This spells out ‘Explore as One’, which connects Earth with Mars.
On the plate of its framework, the rover carries a family portrait of all NASA’s vehicles that have operated on Mars: Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, Perseverance and Ingenuity.
Allen Chen, the entry, descent and landing lead for Perseverance at the JPL told The Verge that Perseverance engineers might have added more hidden messages. “People can’t resist putting a little personal touch in their work,” Chen said. “But the vast majority of these will never be known - even by me.”
Curiosity isn’t without secrets either!
The rover which landed on Mars in 2012 had tiny holes in their hollow aluminium wheels to allow any pebbles that caught inside to escape. These holes were made in Morse code which read ‘JPL’. So when the rover roamed on the Martian surface, ‘JPL’ was stamped on the Martian soil (although it was erased by the wind).
Well turns out Sheldon was right about learning Morse Code!