The large parachute of the Martian rover carried a secret message

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – The huge parachute utilized by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, courtesy of a puzzle fanatic from the spacecraft workforce.

Programs engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell “Dare Mighty Issues” within the orange and white stripes of the 21-meter (70-foot) parachute. It additionally included the GPS coordinates of the mission headquarters on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Clark, a crossword lover, got here up with the concept two years in the past. Engineers wished an uncommon sample within the nylon cloth to understand how the parachute was oriented throughout descent. Turning it right into a secret message was “tremendous enjoyable,” he stated on Tuesday.

In response to Clark, solely about six folks knew concerning the coded message earlier than Thursday’s touchdown. They waited for pictures of the parachute to return earlier than releasing a teaser at a televised press convention on Monday.

It solely took just a few hours for area followers to determine it out, Clark stated. Subsequent time, he famous, “I must be slightly extra artistic.”

“Dare Mighty Issues” – a line by President Theodore Roosevelt – is a mantra at JPL and adorns many partitions within the heart. The trick was to “attempt to discover a approach to encode it with out making it too apparent,” Clark stated.

As for the GPS coordinates, the spot is 3 meters from the doorway to the JPL reception heart.

One other little-known further contact till Touchdown: Perseverance wears a plaque depicting NASA’s 5 rovers on Mars rising through the years – much like decals of household vehicles seen on Earth.

Clark suspects that there are nonetheless extra so-called hidden Easter eggs, however provides, “I do not even learn about it.


The Related Press’s Division of Well being and Science receives help from the Division of Science Training on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely chargeable for all content material.

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