NASA has released new footage of the Perseverance rover landing on Mars – with eagle-eyed viewers spotting a hidden message in its parachute.
In the clip, shared on Monday, February 22, the pattern of the parachute is visible in detail and it didn’t take long for internet sleuths to figure out it was a secret code in binary.
Allen Chen, entry descent and landing lead for the mission, told NASA fans: "Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find for that purpose, so we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work."
The parachute was white with red stripes appearing at what looks like random to the untrained eye, although experts in the computer code soon worked it out.
NASA scientists have craftily concealed its slogan "dare mighty things" in the parachute's design, with the outer stripes representing a variety of numbers that turned out to be special coordinates.
The coordinates are for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s offices in Pasadena, California: 34°11'58" N 118°10'31" W.
Chief Perseverance Engineer Adam Steltzner tweeted about the message on Monday, confirming binary swots had got it right.
He said: "It looks like the internet has cracked the code in something like 6 hours!"
But a lot of people on Twitter admitted the brain teaser had them completely stumped.
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One person commented: "I recognized it as something, but I figured it was a mission-critical something that told them about how the parachute opened or something."
Another admitted: "It never would have occurred to me that there was a code in that parachute!"
"Is this an Easter egg before Easter?" joked someone else.
A fourth viewer quipped: "This is now the official motto for the flag of Mars, right?"
This comes after a viral video claiming to show a panoramic view of Mars turned out to be a deep fake and made up of images caught by NASA's Curiosity rover.
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