CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The massive parachute utilized by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, because of a puzzle lover on the spacecraft staff.
Methods engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Issues” within the orange and white strips of the 70-foot (21-meter) parachute. He additionally included the GPS coordinates for the mission’s headquarters on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Clark, a crossword hobbyist, got here up with the concept two years in the past. Engineers wished an uncommon sample within the nylon material to understand how the parachute was oriented throughout descent. Turning it right into a secret message was “tremendous enjoyable,” he stated Tuesday.
Solely about six folks knew concerning the encoded message earlier than Thursday’s touchdown, in keeping with Clark. They waited till the parachute pictures got here again earlier than placing out a teaser throughout a televised information convention Monday.
It took only a few hours for house followers to determine it out, Clark stated. Subsequent time, he famous, “I’ll need to be a bit of bit extra inventive.”
“Dare Mighty Issues” — a line from President Theodore Roosevelt — is a mantra at JPL and adorns lots of the heart’s partitions. The trick was “attempting to provide you with a method of encoding it however not making it too apparent,” Clark stated.
As for the GPS coordinates, the spot is 10 ft (three meters) from the doorway to JPL’s customer heart.
One other added contact not broadly recognized till landing: Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all 5 of NASA’s Mars rovers in growing measurement through the years — much like the household automobile decals seen on Earth.
Deputy mission supervisor Matt Wallace guarantees extra so-called hidden Easter eggs. They need to be seen as soon as Perseverance’s 7-foot (2-meter) arm is deployed in a number of days and begins photographing below the car, and once more when the rover is driving in a pair weeks.
“Positively, undoubtedly ought to preserve lookout,” he urged.
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