Codes In Space

  • Post category:Art / Technology

You’ve seen the video of NASA’s Perseverance, landing on Mars. The thing is the size of a small car, parachuted into the Martian atmosphere, then falling toward the surface, the fall then arrested by on-board jets which slowed the spacecraft to hover a few dozen feet off the ground as the rover is lowered on a cable.

If that isn’t enough, consider the Perseverance’s on-board helicopter. NASA is planning to fly on Mars.

I admit, as an artist, I get jealous (again) when I see these things. Such brilliance, such craft, such a historic, high-level of achievement.

In the photo arts I look around for what we have to compare to that and I see, what? The deadpan portrait?

In any event, it was fun to read the New York Times article about the secret message encoded on the parachute. NASA used the same technique for their code as I used for the code on the cover of my book, Computational Photography. It’s a simple code, where you convert text to ones and zeros, then substitute colors for the ones and zeros. In their case they used red and white, in my case I did something a little trickier and used two groups of colors. Don’t want to make it too easy.

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