Headline, March 15 2021/ ''' '' SECRETS NASA - !WOW! SPECIAL '' '''


 - !WOW! SPECIAL '' '''

!DARE MIGHTY THINGS! : AT NASA'S JET PROPULSION LABORATORY in California, a most appropriate message and honours shines on for the Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society - and the students of the entire world:

It comes from ''The Strenuous Life,'' a speech by Theodore Roosevelt in 1899 : ''Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.''

As the Perseverance rover fell through the Martian atmosphere last month, a video camera on the NASA spacecraft captured the breakneck deployment of its parachute, which was decorated with splotches of reddish orange and white.

Those splotches were a secret message :

During a news conference a few days after the rovers Feb 18 landing, Allen Chen, the engineer in charge of the landing system, narrated what could be seen and learned in a slowed down video.

He added, cryptically and nonchalantly, that his team hoped to inspire others. ''Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find for that purpose for that purpose,'' he said. ''So we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work.''

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Maxecce Abela, a 23 - year-old computer science student in Paris, realized what Mr. Chen was saying : The seemingly random on Perseverance's parachute contained a code. 

He called his father, Jerome, a software engineer at Google working in London, and the two set to solving it.

Collaborating via teleconference, they downloaded the video, isolated images showing the fully inflated parachute and started piecing together the bits.

So did others around the world, trading insights on Twitter and forums on Reddit. ''It's just exciting that NASA is putting these little puzzles in their missions,'' said Adithya Balaji, a graduate student in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who independently tackled the problem.

Mr. Balaji compared the parachute puzzle with scenes in a couple of science fiction movies : ''Contact,'' in which a scientist played by Jodie Fioster unravels an alient message, and ''The Martian,'' in which Matt Damon's character, Mark Watney, communicates with people back on Earth using a similar code.

''I think that it's exciting that real life can be sometimes even more exciting than the movies,'' Balaji said.

The person who came up with the idea for embedding a message was Ian Clark, who led the development of the parachute. NASA's previous rover, Curiosity, used the same system when it successfully used the same system when it successfully landed on Mars in 2012. But a failure of a prototype parachute intended for failure missions spurred engineers to improve the design.

After all, mission managers would have been embarrassed if they had to explain a failure, - how they had lost a $2.7 billion mission because of a parachute engineer's secret message.

When computer scientists see something in black and white - or, in this case, orange and white - they think of binary code, the 1s and 0s that are the language of the computers. That was the first clue that the puzzle solvers pursued after Mr. Chen's Feb 22 news conference.

For each orange section on the Perseverance parachute, Maxence Abela and his father wrote down a 1, and for each white section, they assigned a 0. That translated into a long string of 1s and 0s.

They tried breaking up the digits into groups of eight - a common practice used in computer programming -but that too yielded gibberish. Then the elder Mr. Abela noticed that the digits seemed to fit in groups of 10,. ''Every 10 bits, there would be three zeros in a row,'' Maxence Abela said. That, they decided, was not a coincidence:


Also on Perseverance are three small chips with the names of  10.9 million people stencilled on them, part of NASA's efforts for the public to participate in its robotic missions.

A more solemn addition was an aluminum plate that honours hardships of those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The practice of adding fun or solemn pieces to spacecraft is not new. In NASA jargon, it is called ''festooning''. The two voyager spacecraft that are now in interstellar space have discs full of images and sounds of Earth.

Two earlier Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, had parts made from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Plato in 2015, carries some of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered the world.

On Perseverance a few more surprises have yet to be revealed. ''There's some things on the front of the vehicle that we'll have a chance to see once we deploy the robot arm,'' Mr. Wallace said. He declined to say what they were or provide hints.

''We're going to let people enjoy the imagery when it comes,'' he said.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Space, NASA, and Tidings, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Kenneth Chang.

With respectful dedication to All Space Agencies Of The World, Scientists, Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society  :  wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Secrets - Sensors '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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