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'We're NASA and We Know It' parodies Mars Curiosity rover mission

August 15, 2012|By Amina Khan | Los Angeles Times

If you watch one YouTube video today, let it be this.

"We’re NASA  and We Know It" takes slices of the Mars Science Laboratory rover's dramatic Aug. 5 landing – ostensibly a great moment in modern planetary exploration – and blends them into a music video parody styled after the leopard-thonged LMFAO's music video "Sexy and I Know It."

The satire features NASA characters that the viewing public has grown to know and love. The actor singing the song plays the Mohawk Guy – real-life flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, who rose to Twitter stardom after his stars-and-stripes 'do captivated viewers at home.

Even Mars mission project manager Pete Theisinger, with his snowy white mustache and unforgettable bowl cut, is lovingly represented in the music vid.

And then there's the lyrics. The first few verses, for example, are packed with smart references to the mission, especially its complex landing-night sequence:

"When I E-D-L, / time for 7 minutes of flamin' hell. / Rover's touching down, / everyone pass peanuts around. / We at mission control, / gettin' full use out of every sol. / Just 25 feet left to go, / it’s Curiosity, look out below!"

(If you don’t get the references, check out the links in the text for some stories with some helpful explanation.)

It's unclear why the rover, nicknamed Curiosity, is represented in an American flag bikini (and yet wearing a Jet Propulsion Laboratory badge!), but I'm going to chalk that up to artistic license.

NASA almost couldn't have asked for better publicity. Perhaps it will even rival the 1.7 million views and counting earned by their “7 minutes of terror” video, which dramatizes the rover’s "crazy" landing sequence.

And in case you’re wondering if Mars mission folks are taking offense, far from it. Mission engineer Steve Sell – and even the Mohawk Guy himself, Ferdowsi -- each posted it on their Twitter accounts. 

Follow me on Twitter @aminawrite.

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