When NASA’s Perseverance rover moved his daring descendants to the red planet, you may have noticed that his parachute had an unusual arrangement of red and white chevrons.
That pattern, it seems, was not random at all, but a hidden code. Within just six hours, people had surpassed the internet, revealing a very beautiful message: “Dare Mighty Things”.
The phrase has been used as the motto by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for years, taken from a speech given by American President Theodore Roosevelt in 1899:
“It is far better to deceive powerful, to reap glorious rewards, even if deceived by failure, than to gain status with those poor spirits who do not like many or suffer many, for they live in the gray evening that they know not victory or loss. . “
The hidden message was first mentioned in the live stream by NASA systems engineer Allen Chen, who said, “As well as enabling amazing science, we hope our efforts can and our engineering to inspire others.Sometimes we leave messages in our work to find others.for that reason.We therefore invite you all to view it and your work to show. “
The first solution appears to have been posted online by IT student Abela Paf on Twitter. The message, he said, was decoded by him and his father, who stated that the chevrons were arranged in concentric rings encoding a 10-bit pattern.
– Abela_Paf (@FrenchTech_paf) February 22, 2021
“Each binary number encodes a position in the alphabet, starting at 1,” he explained. “For the word ‘powerful’, we need to start counting 40 beats later and that would be right.”
If the red segments are 1s and the white segments are 0sg, the rings can be broken down into blocks representing numbers. Then you add the number 64. So the first letter in the code is 0000000100, which gives you the number 4. Add 64 to get 68 – the ASCII code for the capital letter D.
That explains the three inner rings. The outer ring, on the other hand, displays letters and numbers: 34 11 58 N 118 10 31 W. These, posted to reddit by user tend0g, are the geographical coordinates for JPL – 34 ° 11’58 “N 118 ° 10 ’31” W.
Chief endurance engineer Adam Steltzner of NASA JPL proved the solution.
It looks like the internet has broken 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
That’s not Perseverance’s only secret message, though.
The sun’s rays on the plaque contain a slice of names and messages from Earthlings in Morse code, spelling the phrase “Search as One”. And away on a plate on his chassis is a family portrait of all Mars movements at NASA: Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, Perseverance and Ingenuity.
Some of you have seen the special message I am carrying to Mars along with the 10.9+ million names you have submitted. “Explore As One” is written in Morse code in the rays of the sun, which connect our home planet to the one I’ll explore. Together, we will continue. https://t.co/Bsv1mqpxlA pic.twitter.com/GhcS1HgsIN
– Marsever Perseverance NASA (@NASAPersevere) March 30, 2020
Curiosity is not without mysteries either. A pattern in the wheels of the rover is also Morse code, spelled JPL. Of course, placing code messages on our inspection vessels is a tradition.
As Allen Chen told the Verge, perseverance can be full of other mysteries.
“People can’t resist putting a little personal touch in their work,” he said. “But most of them will never know that – even me. “