Perseverance rover landing memes: Matt Damon has visitors on Mars

Did NASA find Senator Ted Cruz hiding out on the red planet? Twitter investigates, kind of.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read
Twentieth Century Fox

Mars has long fascinated many of us stuck here on Earth, and Thursday's safe landing of NASA's Perseverance rover only stirred up the pop culture love for the red planet. The rover has serious work ahead, including searching for signs of life in an ancient lakebed, but Earthlings looked for the lighter side.

The rover's first image of its new home sparked plenty of memes and jokes -- and to no one's surprise, actor Matt Damon, who starred in 2015's The Martian, was front and center in many of them.

Matt Damon has company now

Some people edited Damon's image into the new Mars photo.

"This is awesome," one tweet read. "Huge congrats to everyone who helped find Matt Damon. Let's bring him home."

Science the what, now?

And many cited Damon's most famous quote from that film, where he "scienced the shit" out of his mission.

Famous faces on Mars

Others took the first Mars rover image and edited other familiar photos into it.

Mars with mittens

The famous photo of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his big mittens, from President Joe Biden's inauguration, showed up. "Wait, the Hermès crew picked up Matt Damon, but dropped off Bernie?!" one Twitter user wrote.

Cruzing to Mars

And another hot story of the day, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz abruptly heading back to his frozen state from a vacation in Mexico, also showed up in the Mars memes.

"Spotted: Ted Cruz deviates from his plans in Cancun to hitch a ride with Perseverance to Mars," someone wrote.

Even a Twitter account purporting to be Larry the well-known cat who lives at 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of Britain's government, got in a dig at Cruz, writing, "If you find Ted Cruz up there, send him home..."

Elon in space

And is that SpaceX's Elon Musk? You know it is.

Percy is tweeting

The rover has an official NASA Twitter account, of course, where it delivers official news from its adventures.

"I'm safe on Mars. Perseverance will get you anywhere," was one of its early messages.

Some accounts claiming to be Perseverance were not official, though they still had fun with the events of the day. An account calling itself Percy the Mars Rover joked, "NASA really spent $2.5 billion to teach Americans how to spell 'Perseverance.'"

The jokes are far from over. Perserverance's mission is planned to last for at least one Mars year, or about 687 Earth days.