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Posts Tagged ‘MarsPeserverance’

If you, like me, watched the Mars landing and thought, “So cool. But something is definitely up with that parachute,” you were not wrong!

Image via the Parachute Up-Look Camera A on Feb. 23, 2021 (Sol 2). NASA/JPL-Caltech

The striking red and white pattern was too distinctive to be meaningless. 

I initially speculated that the design was meant to help engineers better understand the forces at work as the lander fell through the atmosphere, but nope. With more thought I might have made some progress, but I put the question aside and focused on other things (like the first audio recording from the Red Planet).

Cue the Internet.

There’s a hidden message in the parachute of NASA’s Mars rover – The Verge

Depending on the shape and location of the red-and-white color patterns circling around the parachute’s center, the segments represent different numbers which can be translated through binary code.

— Internet sleuths solve secret message on Perseverance rover’s Mars parachute | Space

Check out the key below, showing the code in four concentric patterns. It reads: Dare Mighty Things. That’s the Perseverance team motto and is also on the wall at the Jet Propulsion Lab. JPL gets another shout-out in the outer ring, which lists the Lab’s lat/long coordinates on Earth. (That’s going to be awfully confusing for any aliens who find it on Mars:)

Image shared by Rick von Hagn on Twitter https://twitter.com/MrIosity/status/1364436321457082370

Well done!

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Speaking of extraterrestrials, now seems like a grand time to plug my favorite new Syfy show, Resident Alien.

An alien crash lands on Earth and must pass himself off as small-town human doctor Harry Vanderspeigle. Arriving with a secret mission to kill all humans, Harry starts off living a simple life…but things get a bit rocky when he’s roped into solving a local murder and realizes he needs to assimilate into his new world.

It stars the fabulous Wash, I mean Alan Tudyk, plus a cast of other terrific, talented and quirky actors, and is a thing of beauty. The premiere was frakking hilarious.

It’s on my mind because it plays on Wednesday nights, but if you missed it, full episodes are available online for the next year or so.

I’m chuckling just thinking about it.

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I may have a Mars hangover,* so today it’s… drum roll please… Free Fiction Day! Wherein I source high-quality fiction for your perusing pleasure. It’s Friday and I am looking forward to the weekend, so today’s installment is this recent little gem from the good folks over at Daily Science Fiction: 

Onboarding Practices for the Ravaging Horde

When ravaging, it is important that you work hard to create a suitably terrifying experience for the peasant farmers of the indolent lands of Gresh. Best practices include clearly establishing client expectations in an orderly and timely manner, particularly for any projects with cyclical processes such as the burning of seasonal crops, the dismaying of children’s birthday parties, or the poisoning of wells.

— Daily Science Fiction :: Onboarding Practices for the Ravaging Horde by E. B. Brandon

Aren’t you glad you don’t work for that guy? (At least, I hope you don’t!)

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

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* Way to go, Perseverance! And yes, we watched The Martian last night. Still fun, and I had the added enjoyment of measuring the distance between where we are now and the movie world. It’s also interesting to consider the fact that (as far as I know) there’s really nothing stopping private citizens from going to Mars themselves. Aside from an ocean of money, which we’ve oh so helpfully given to space-geeks like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Will the first human on Mars plant an Amazon flag? Drive a Tesla rover? Claim (ahem) prime real estate and start building oversized warehouses, then charge the rest of us entrance fees? Disturbing thoughts!

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