CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The massive parachute utilized by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, due to a puzzle lover on the spacecraft crew.
Programs 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 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, in response to Clark. They waited till the parachute photographs 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 mentioned. Subsequent time, he famous, “I’ll must be a bit bit extra artistic.”
“Dare Mighty Issues” — a line from President Theodore Roosevelt — is a mantra at JPL and adorns most of the heart’s partitions. The trick was “making an attempt to provide you with a manner of encoding it however not making it too apparent,” Clark mentioned.
As for the GPS coordinates, the spot is 10 ft (3 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 rising dimension through the years — just like the household automotive 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 automobile, and once more when the rover is driving in a pair weeks.
“Positively, positively ought to preserve a very good lookout,” he urged.
The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely liable for all content material.
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