NASA Inspires the Internet’s Curiosity

This week’s viral sensation comes from an unexpected location: Mars.

Aside from time spent with mobile gaming’s biggest stars, NASA hasn’t exactly been on the radar lately. But with the Curiosity rover’s arrival at the red planet, all eyes are on the skies. Millions tuned in on Sunday night to wait with NASA while the rover made its final descent in those 7 minutes of terror.

As of this writing, two days after release, the video of that descent has over 1.8 million views. The video is hardly an impressive thing: a thumbnail-sized animation made up of a few hundred small, still images. But they’re small, still images of our technology landing on Mars, and that’s a pretty big thing.

Then there’s the slightly more fanciful take, which intersperses scenes of the celebration at mission control with computer generated renderings of Curiosity’s landing.

Curiosity is doing a fantastic job of promoting the work NASA does, but what about the people and the careers there? That’s covered by the evening’s unlikely star, Bobak Ferdowsi, a.k.a. Mohawk Guy. As this video shows, the young flight director captured the imagination and adoration of the Internet with his offbeat, space-themed hairstyle. Ferdowsi has become an impromptu spokesperson for the organization, picking up around 40,000 new Twitter followers for himself and a lot of love for his organization and mission.

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