Today is the day! Happy birthday Curiosity! Over 100.000 robotic lawn mowers are sending their love to you via song. @NASA @MarsCuriosity #HappyBirthdayCuriosityRoverhttps://t.co/cWstyyijov pic.twitter.com/22cMm7uCe5
— HusqvarnaUSA (@HusqvarnaUSA) August 5, 2022
NASA’s long-lived Mars robotic rover Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on today’s date (August 5) in the year 2012. On its 1st birthday in 2013, Curiosity sang a solitary Happy Birthday to itself from Mars’ lonely surface. In 2022 – for Curiosity’s 10th birthday – 100,000 robotic lawnmowers on Earth were expected to sing Happy Birthday to Curiosity. The tweet above provides a sample of their singing.
Husqvarna, the company that makes the lawnmowers, developed a new firmware program for its robotic mowers. As Linda Lindqvist, Product Manager Robotics at Husqvarna, said:
From a choir of robots on Earth to the loneliest robot in the universe, Happy Birthday!
The company said it’s the first time so many robots will take part in celebrating the birthday of a Mars rover. But not the last?
How did it work?
The firmware update was provided for three models of Automower® robotic lawnmowers: models 405X, 415X and 435X AWD. The update was available for 100,000 of the mowers around the world. In September, it will become a permanent feature of those models.
The technology is based on the mower’s existing alarm signal. The integration platform IFTTT will enable the mowers to sing Happy Birthday. Björn Mannefred, Robotics Software Manager at Husqvarna, said:
For us this is a way to pay homage to the great engineering work of NASA, and that of our extensive team of robotic experts, by letting our robotic mowers celebrate a fellow robot … nobody should have to sing Happy Birthday to themselves, right?
Curiosity’s life on Mars
Curiosity has been exploring Gale Crater since 2012, finding evidence for habitable conditions a few billion years ago when the crater used to be a lake. The rover recently spotted some odd stick-like objects that look like mini-hoodoos.
The rover has been working hard, so it deserved a big Happy Birthday … robots to robot!
Curiosity’s 1st birthday song
The NASA video below explains the origin of the idea to have Curiosity sing Happy Birthday to itself in 2013 … and lets you hear Curiosity singing.
And here’s the story on TikTok
And check out another cool take on the story, from TikTok, below. It captures the poignancy of Curiosity’s birthday celebrations, on the lonely, windswept desert world next door to Earth. Go, @astro_alexandra!
@astro_alexandra Mars rover Curiosity sang happy birthday to itself… #mars #spacetok #stemtok #sciencetok #astronomy ? original sound – ASTRO ALEXANDRA ?
Bottom line: On August 5, Husqvarna robotic lawn mowers sung Happy Birthday to NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. And you can participate!