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-metre) 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 thought two years in the past. Engineers wished an uncommon sample within the nylon cloth to know the way the parachute was oriented throughout descent. Turning it right into a secret message was “tremendous enjoyable”, he mentioned Tuesday.
Solely about six individuals knew in regards to the encoded message earlier than Thursday’s touchdown, based on Clark. They waited till the parachute photographs got here again earlier than placing out a teaser throughout a televised information convention on Monday.
It took just some hours for area followers to determine it out, Clark mentioned. Subsequent time, he famous, “I”ll must be a bit of bit extra artistic.”
“Dare Mighty Issues” — a line from President Theodore Roosevelt — is a mantra at JPL and adorns most of the centre’s partitions. The trick was “attempting to give you a approach of encoding it however not making it too apparent,” Clark mentioned.
As for the GPS coordinates, the spot is 10 toes (3 metres) from the doorway to JPL’s customer centre.
One other added contact not extensively recognized till landing: Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all 5 of NASA’s Mars rovers in growing dimension through the years — just like the household automobile decals seen on Earth.
Deputy venture supervisor Matt Wallace guarantees extra so-called hidden Easter eggs. They need to be seen as soon as Perseverance’s 7-foot (2-metre) arm is deployed in just a few days and begins photographing below the automobile, and once more when the rover is driving in a pair weeks.
“Positively, positively ought to hold a very good lookout,” he urged.
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