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NASA hid secret messages in the Perseverance parachute

It's all in the colors.


"Dare mighty things," reads the message in the Perseverance rover's parachute.

NASA screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET
This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

You might have noticed an unusual pattern to the red and white in the Perseverance rover's parachute as it landed on Mars last week, and NASA teased a secret message coded in the colors. Maxence Abela, a student at French computer science institution Epitech, together with his father, quickly figured it out.

The message reads "Dare mighty things," a slogan of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, while a JPL's Paul Ramirez revealed that the outer rings included GPS coordinates for its offices in Pasadena, California.

Abela provided a detailed explanation of his work, which scientist Emily Calandrelli distilled into a fun TikTok

Science writer Corey S. Powell compared it to the tradition of ancient artisans leaving a secret in their work, noting that the Perseverance's predecessor rover Curiosity spells out "JPL" in Morse code as it rolls across Mars. 

On Monday, NASA revealed images and video from Mars, including a panorama of the Jezero Crater that Perseverance has been sent to explore. One of the rover's microphones also sent back the first audio recorded on the planet's surface.

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