Kicker – A hidden message on Mars


NICK EICHER, HOST: This was almost two weeks ago: NASA’s Perseverance closing in on Mars.

NASA: Navigation has confirmed that the parachute has been deployed and we are seeing significant deceleration.

Turns out NASA rocket scientists left a hidden message in that parachute. 

CHEN: So we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work.

Engineer Alan Chen laying down a challenge that a father and son in France would pick up

Maxence Abela is an IT student in Paris. His dad Jerome is a software engineer. They put their heads together and deciphered the message scattered across the red and white parachute, hidden in binary code.  

It took a few hours of figuring but eventually they figured it: A famous quotation by a former American president, “dare mighty things.” Here’s the younger Abela on GlobalNewsCanada:

ABELA: We found “dare mighty things.” That’s why. It’s very nice. It’s awesome.

It was a speech delivered in 1899 when Teddy Roosevelt was governor of New York aiming to inspire Americans to embrace strenuous effort and overcome hardship.

NASA’s Chen put a fine point on that.

CHEN: And we still get to  “dare mighty things” together.

Like landing on Mars.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


(NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP) This image from video made available by NASA shows the parachute deployed during the descent of the Mars Perseverance rover as it approaches the surface of the planet on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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