Patriotic Haircut Turns Curiosity Flight Controller Into Internet Sensation

One of these here is not like the others… Bobak Ferdowsi’s “USA” mohawk, festooned with stripes of red and blue and completed by stars shaved in the sides of his head has turned the JPL flight engineer into an internet celebrity. Photo Credit: NASA

The world was watching with baited breath as a one-ton rover screamed out of the blackness of space and headed for its rendezvous with the Martian surface. Amidst the drama, a patriotic haircut worn by one of the flight controllers at JPL caught the attention of the world. Bobak Ferdowsi, whose hair was cut into a Mohawk with stars shaved into the side of his head above his ears, became an overnight internet sensation.

Ferdowsi has since been dubbed the “Mohawk guy” and has managed to attract even more attention to the successful early-morning landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity. Curiosity touched down at Gale Crater on Mars at 1:32 a.m. EDT causing an outpouring of emotion from the flight controllers, some of whom have worked for years on this project. Ferdowsi himself has worked at JPL for nine years.

Ferdowsi has remained humble despite his new-found fame stating in an interview on the web-based show “What’s Trending” that; ”If my mohawk gets a few more people excited about science and this mission, then that’s awesome.”

Ferdowsi’s fame has transferred into some 27,000 followers on the social media site Twitter as of this writing.

“Bobak has become quite the sensation,” said JPL’s Priscilla Vega. “Since landing night we’ve received dozens of interview requests for him and he has appeared as a guest on various news stations, radio stations and online as well as print publications.”

Ferdowsi shares the emotion of Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars with his fellow team members. Little did he realize that his haircut would cause a sensation. Photo Credit: NASA

Ferdowsi is a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) located in Pasadena, Calif. Despite his rock star-like haircut (something he shares with fellow MSL team member and lead engineer on MSL’s EDL phase Adam Steltzner who sports an Elvis-like haircut) Ferdowsi is not just another pretty face however, he attended the American School located in Tokyo, Japan. He then moved on to the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Unfortunately for the single ladies out there, Mr. Ferdowsi is spoken for. He has a girlfriend who he has stated is “awesome.”

Launched in November of last year, the Curiosity rover has a plutonium power source and is scheduled to search for signs of life on Mars over the course of the next two years. The rover will also utilize its suite of instruments to study climate and geology on the Red Planet.

[youtube_video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti_yre6dsa4[/youtube_video]

Video courtesy of NASA Television

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