Social media and Internet sleuths have noticed that the red and white pattern on the Perseverance's parachute doesn't look random. They said a secret message was encoded in the parachute pattern that helped the Perseverance rover land on the Red Planet. It took the enthusiasts only a few hours to decode the message – it was the phrase "Dare Mighty Things" in binary code, and NASA representatives later confirmed that the parachute indeed contained a secret message.
The phrase "Dare Mighty Things" is a quote from one of the speeches of the 32nd US President Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the motto of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For the first time, Theodore Roosevelt said the phrase "Dare Mighty Things" in his 1899 speech.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat,” Roosevelt said
The parachute message is the work of the agency's systems engineer Ian Clark. Clark used the red and white stripes of the parachute to encrypt the phrase "Dare Mighty Things" as well as the geolocation (34° 11'58 "N 118° 10'31" W) of the mission headquarters at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Adam Steltzner, the chief engineer of Perseverance, later confirmed the message on Twitter.
Clark noted that only six people on his team knew about the secret message. The engineers waited for the parachute image to be available on Earth before giving a hint during a press conference on Monday. As Allen Chen, the entry, descent, and landing lead for the mission, admitted, this is not the only hidden message that has been left on the Perseverance rover. Among them are microchips with 10.9 million names and 155 essays sent to the agency as part of the competition.
The rover also has a reference to the coronavirus pandemic, which affected the preparation and launch of the mission on Earth. The rover's aluminum plate features the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient symbol of healing and medicine.