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'NASA mohawk guy' outshines Curiosity

Date

James Manning

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Bobak Ferdowsi, aka 'NASA Mohawk Guy'. Click for more photos

NASA Mohawk Guy

Images of NASA Activity Lead Bobak Ferdowsi, aka 'NASA Mohawk Guy', went viral across the web shortly after the successful landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars. 

As the first images of Mars from NASA's rover Curiosity went viral across the web, so too did a 32-year-old NASA flight director from Pasadena, California.

Never mind the fact that NASA had just successfully landed the most sophisticated spacecraft ever on another planet: the internet had a new celebrity.

'NASA Mohawk Guy', also known as Bobak Ferdowsi, stood out from the sea of his tense-faced, blue-shirted colleagues thanks to his patriotic hairdo: a blue and red mohawk with yellow stars on the side of his head.

He quickly caught the attention of viewers, and within minutes his hairdo and pearly white smile were circulating on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. NASA had a new social media star and the internet had a new meme.

Cementing his status as an overnight internet sensation, a Tumblr page was set up in his honour called NASA Needs More Mohawks [language warning].

"Guides a rover through space and into my heart," reads one of the most popular images, while another makes note of the fact that the young engineer was blissfully unaware of his fame until after the fact: "Becomes an internet sensation. Too busy landing a robot on Mars to notice."

Ferdowsi had less than 200 followers on Twitter before the Mars landing, and now has more than 26,000 and climbing. He has since interacted with some of his new fans, but has mostly continued to post updates about the mission. "Looking fwd to seeing what's new and talking to you all. #MSL" he tweeted on Monday morning Los Angeles time.

He even referenced his newfound stardom with the following tweet: "Internet, you win this round. I'll be back later, but thanks so much. Now going to celebrate with all my friends and team! #msl."

Ferdowsi, who is an ''Activity lead'' on the Curiosity mission, creates a new hairdo for every mission. This star-spangled style, which was voted for by his colleagues at NASA Mission Control from several looks he proposed, was "meant to be patriotic as well as cosmic", he told The Atlantic. His previous hairstyles range from run-of-the-mill quiffs to a slightly more eye-catching red updo.

''Mohawk Guy'' studied aeronautical and astronautical engineering at the University of Washington and MIT. You can follow him on Twitter here.

30 comments

  • The NASA guy with the rocker Elvis hair style - he was as cool if not cooler.

    Commenter
    w ch
    Date and time
    August 07, 2012, 12:07PM
    • it's Hotdogs from Big Bother

      Commenter
      keeno
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      August 07, 2012, 1:14PM
      • And this counts for news.....

        PS I am aware I clicked on and commented on this story....

        Commenter
        Carstendog
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        August 07, 2012, 1:24PM
        • I suppose some people are just desperate to put it out there and be noticed....maybe that's what attracted you to mohawk guy and this 'news'.

          Commenter
          Jorge
          Location
          Vegas
          Date and time
          August 07, 2012, 2:58PM
        • Agreed - the 21st century is where style outshines substance & personality outrates character.... sad!

          Commenter
          Gavin S
          Location
          Bundanoon
          Date and time
          August 07, 2012, 5:56PM
        • Actually.... no, I was wondering why the Age could think it necessary to approach an interesting scientific story with an inane "human" interest angle. By the way, if it was about an attractive lady at NASA, would the Age have run the story?

          Commenter
          Carstendog
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          August 07, 2012, 6:47PM
      • He has a PhD from MIT. He mocks your low one hundreds IQ scores.

        Commenter
        StBob
        Date and time
        August 07, 2012, 1:54PM
        • That made me laugh. That said, so did the image macros. They're as ridiculous as ridiculously photogenic guy. Feel free to google that. It's safe for work.

          Commenter
          Mishoni
          Date and time
          August 07, 2012, 3:15PM
      • Thanks James.

        Yet another brilliant Iranian scientist. The guy who actually developed the rover is Iranian too! If this was Australia, he'd probably be languishing from racism from Anglo Australia and have psychological issues.

        Racism from Anglo Australia is so powerful, it stifles all growth from all sectors.

        Only in America can an Iranian be in charge of a mufti-billion dollar project, only in America can you have a black man as the president.

        Australia is about 20 years behind the rest of the world.

        Commenter
        Rob
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 07, 2012, 1:57PM
        • Good ol' America, the bigotless nation! Truly, what a blessed place. Free from misery, poverty, and sickness. The land where people live for hundreds of years, and ride unicorns into the dawn. A magical land of wonder and mystery, I too dream of going to America. I'd go there to dance with the nymphs, and ride with the Vikings. To cavort with the valkyries, and drink mead with Odin. To sail the sun ship with Ra, and hear the justice of Anubis. To hear the wisdom of Athena, and see the majesty of the rainbow serpent. America, the land of eternal sunshine, and endless meadows.

          What a wonderful place!

          Commenter
          Mishoni
          Date and time
          August 07, 2012, 3:13PM

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