NASA’s Curiosity Rover just celebrated the galaxy’s loneliest birthday, “singing” to itself in a Martian crater, 208 million miles from home.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the rover’s landing on the Red Planet, and to celebrate, NASA scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt programmed it to play a little tune. It’s not “playing,” technically -- as NASA technologist Florence Tan explains in an accompanying video, the rover's sample analysis unit vibrates at different frequencies to move soil samples. Normally, those vibrations sound remarkably like the noises robots make in Disney’s Wall-E, but when you string them all together, something similar to “Happy Birthday” results. (Fun trivia: Warner/Chappell owns the copyright to the “Happy Birthday” song -- but maybe not in space.)