While to many, the colors and patterns on the Perseverance rover’s landing parachute appeared random, internet sleuths quickly decoded a hidden message in the design.
The Mars rover’s descent onto the red planet was well documented, with NASA releasing photos soon after it landed last week, followed by color photos and audio and video from Mars this week. In the video released on Monday, the red and white parachute can be clearly seen.
During a news conference after the video was released, Allen Chen, entry, descent, and landing lead for Perseverance, challenged viewers to decipher the code seen on the parachute. The rover’s chief engineer Adam Steltzner confirmed that the hidden message was “Dare Mighty Things.”
“It looks like the internet has cracked the code in something like 6 hours! Oh internet is there anything you can’t do?” Steltzner tweeted.
It looks like the internet has cracked the code in something like 6 hours! Oh internet is there anything you can’t do? For those who just want to know: #Mars2020 #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/yTJCEnbuLY— Adam Steltzner (@steltzner) February 23, 2021
The message was hidden using binary computer code. The slogan “Dare Mighty Things” is featured at Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is the motto of the Perseverance rover.
Chen told the Verge that there are more hidden messages yet to be discovered as Perseverance traverses the Martian surface.
“People can’t resist putting a little personal touch in their work,” Chen said. “But the vast majority of these will never be known — even by me.”
In addition to the “Dare Mighty Things” message, the outer ring of the parachute features the coordinates for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located north of Los Angeles in Southern California.