NASA will be represented on Monday (January 21) when President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term as president. The famous Mohawk Guy, Bobak Ferdowsi, who works at NASA will be included in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. Joining Ferdowsi in the parade will be life-size models of NASA’s Orion space capsule and Curiosity, the space agency’s newest Mars rover.
As a flight director at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ferdowsi gained a lot of attention for his mohawk, which was on display when the robotic rover Curiosity landed on Mars last year. Ferdowsi’s unusual hairstyle went viral on the internet, making him an overnight sensation. Ferdowsi, who was shown live on video during NASA’s seven minutes of terror — the time during which Curiosity plunged through the Martian atmosphere during its descent. Speaking at the time, President Obama joked that, at one time, he was considering getting a Mohawk myself, but his team eventually discouraged him.
Ferdowsi believes there a lot of unique things about working for NASA, including discovering who you are. “The things we do, the exploration we do, is not just about learning about other planets. It’s about understanding our own,” he said in a statement. “NASA gives us a chance to travel outside our world as a way to look back and learn about ourselves as a species — as people. There’s nowhere else in the world where you get to do that.”
Despite gaining fame for his mohawk, Ferdowsi will reportedly be showing off a new hairstyle for the Presidential Inauguration Parade this Monday. In an interview with Wired, the NASA employee revealed that he will be keeping the new hairdo a secret until the big day.
Ferdowsi will not be the only NASA representative at the President’s inauguration. He will be joined by life-size replicas of the famous Orion spacecraft and the newest Mars rover, Curiosity. Ferdowsi will also be accompanied by other NASA employees during the parade. NASA’s involvement in Monday’s events is part of the space agency’s Presidential Inaugural Weekend. NASA announced the special event Thursday, issuing a statement through the agency’s website. The rover model will be accompanied by four members of the team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that safely landed Curiosity on the Martian surface last August, according to NASA.
Curiosity made history when it landed on Martian soil on Aug. 5 of last year. The robotic rover is larger than the previous two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity that were sent to the Red Planet. Right now, Curiosity is carrying out a two-year mission that will help NASA scientists figure out if there ever has been or ever could be life on Mars.
The Orion spacecraft is a deep-space capsule that NASA scientists are hoping will help them determine how to get humans to asteroids, the moon, and Mars in the future. Orion is the first spaceship created by NASA since the space agency designed the space shuttle in the 1970s. NASA hopes that Orion will be the answer to sending humans deeper in space than was previously possible.
In addition to the events scheduled for Monday, NASA also hosted an open house today (January 18). The open house, which was help in honor of the upcoming inauguration, was open to NASA’s social media participants without reservation. The space agency will also have telescopes set up at the David M. Brown Planetarium in Arlington, Virginia.
A full schedule of NASA-related events for Inauguration Day and the weekend leading up to it is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/news/inauguration.html .