What's the deal with the alien sitting on a rock?
September 13, 2012 1:17 PM   Subscribe

What is meaning of the cartoon logo of an alien sitting on a rock in the MAHLI calibration image on the mast of NASA's Curiosity rover?
posted by mqk to Society & Culture (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "Accompanying the penny on the MAHLI calibration target is a tiny cartoon of a character named "Joe the Martian." Both the coin and the character serve double duty: both are calibration targets and both are intended to engage the public.


The Joe the Martian character is taken from a children's science periodical, "Red Planet Connection," where it was regularly seen when Edgett directed the Mars outreach program at Arizona State University, Tempe, in the 1990s.

Joe was created earlier, as a part of Edgett's schoolwork when he was 9 years old and NASA's Viking missions, launched in 1975, inspired him to dream of becoming a Mars researcher.

"The Joe the Martian on Curiosity really is a 'thank you' from the MAHLI team to the folks who have provided us with the opportunity to study Mars, the U.S. taxpayers," Edgett said. "He's also there to encourage children around the world to set goals that will help them achieve their dreams in whatever interests they pursue.""

Penny payload: NASA Mars rover Curiosity carries coin for camera checkup
posted by ringu0 at 1:27 PM on September 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

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