KEY POINTS

  • The Perseverance rover will bring a coded message to Mars
  • The meaning of the message was revealed by NASA
  • The rover will be accompanied by the Mars Helicopter

Scientists from NASA revealed the meaning of the secret message the Perseverance rover will bring to Mars in its upcoming mission. The coded message was engraved on a special plate that contains the names of 10.9 million people.

Perseverance is a car-sized rover that will spearhead NASA’s latest mission to Mars. One of the rover’s objectives is to explore the Red Planet to look for signs of alien life.

Last week, NASA announced that the rover would be bringing the names of over 10.9 million people with it on its mission to Mars. The names were submitted by the public through a special campaign organized by NASA.

The names were electronically stenciled on three silicon chips that were mounted on an anodized plate. This plate was then securely attached to the aft crossbeam of Perseverance.

Aside from the names of almost 11 million people, it seems the rover will also bring a special message during its trip to Mars. According to the team behind Perseverance, the rover’s coded message was imprinted on the plate holding the names.

The message was engraved in the form of a diagram that shows Earth and Mars connected by the beams from the Sun. But, according to NASA, the diagram can actually be spelled out using Morse Code. When deciphered properly, the message would read as “Explore As One.”

“Some of you spotted the special message I’m carrying to Mars along with the 10.9+ million names you all sent in,” NASA said in a statement. “‘Explore As One’ is written in Morse code in the Sun’s rays, which connect our home planet with the one I'll explore. Together, we persevere.”

The Perseverance rover is expected to embark on its mission to Mars sometime in July this year. It is expected to reach Mars in February 2021. For the upcoming Mars 2020 mission, NASA has selected the Jezero crater as the main target for Perseverance’s exploration.

NASA’s latest rover will be accompanied by the Mars Helicopter, which will become the first aircraft to fly on another planet. The helicopter is expected to guide the rover from above and to explore areas that Perseverance cannot reach.