The parachute that helped NASA’s Perseverance Rover land on Mars last week unfolded to reveal the seemingly random color patterns in the video footage of the rover landing. But there are more stories: NASA officials later said that it contained hidden messages written in binary computer code.
Internet detectives cracked the news within a few hours. The red and white patterns spell out “things that dare to be others” in concentric circles. This sentence is the motto of the Hengxin team, and it is also printed on the mission control wall of NASA̵
The outer circle of the parachute seems to translate to JPL coordinates: 34°11’58” N 118°10’31”W.
Perseverance entered, Allen Chen, the head of descent and landing, dared to let the public recognize this message at a press conference on Monday. He said: “In addition to promoting incredible scientific development, we hope that our engineering efforts can inspire others.”
“Sometimes, we leave some information at work for others to find, so we invite everyone to take photos and show your work.”
Adam Steltzner, Perseverance’s chief engineer, confirmed the news on Twitter on Monday evening.
The message of “dare to be brave” is not the only weird perseverance brought to Mars. Zoom in on the thousands of NASA images released from the Mars Rover this week, and you can see tiny family portraits of past Mars rover, Hengxin and Ingenuity helicopters, including Hengxin to Mars.
NASA has included hidden messages in its rover in the past. The Curiosity rover landed on “Red Planet” in 2012, and its hollow aluminum wheels are dotted with small holes to allow the Martian pebbles trapped inside to escape.
These vulnerabilities are read as “JPL” in Morse code. Therefore, when Curiosity moved on the surface, “JPL” was printed on Martian soil in Morse code (although it was blown off by the Martian wind shortly after).
Chen told edge Persevering engineers may put more hidden messages on the rover beyond the “dare to be brave” code in the parachute.
“People can’t resist adding a little personal touch to their work,” Chen said. “But most of them will not be known-even me.”