When footage was released this week showing NASA’s latest rover descending towards the Martian surface, most people’s attention was drawn to the spectacular red-tinged landscape far below.
Some eagle-eyed space fans however managed to spot something altogether unexpected – a hidden message in the red and white pattern of the rover’s parachute.
While at a glance it might not seem like anything meaningful, the pattern actually spells out three words in binary code, with the red sections being 1’s, the white sections being 0’s and each of the three rows representing a different word.
If you convert all the patterns into 1’s and 0’s and translate it all into computer ASCII code, you will end up with the message ‘dare mighty things.’
This just happens to be the motto used by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was taken from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1899:
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
As an extra little bonus, the additional pattern on the outside edge of the parachute can be similarly translated into the precise GPS co-ordinates of JPL’s visitor center.
“Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find,” said a NASA representative.
“So we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work.”