On Thursday, the world watched as NASA live-streamed the Perseverance rover touching down on Mars. The landing was a success, resulting in viewers and NASA scientists cheering together, but Perseverance’s first photos from the ground also became a prime foundation for memes and Photoshops.
Perseverance’s first two photos, which were taken 126 million miles away in black-and-white and then sent back to Earth, gave us a glimpse of the rocky exterior that Perseverance would now roam on.
The photos are cool as hell, and plenty of us took the time to marvel in awe of space, a common occurrence whenever a NASA mission goes off without a hitch. But, given the barren backdrop of the photos, it also proved to be the perfect filter for memes.
Perseverance rover memes
Although Bernie Sanders and his mittens blew up on Inauguration Day nearly a month ago, the presence of Sanders and his mittens on Mars came out strong.
He’s far from the only pop-culture staple to show up on Mars’ surface. Darth Vader, John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, and E.T. all made appearances.
But the biggest star on Mars arrived in a collision with the other big news story of the day. On Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fled the winter storms in Texas to travel to Cancún with his family as millions of his constituents spent days without power, heat, or water in their homes; now a national scandal, Cruz was shamed into returning to Texas a day later and placed the blame for the trip on his two daughters. Sure, Mars isn’t quite Cancún, but for Cruz’s sake, it is likely warmer than Texas.
Even Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) got in on it.
The Perseverance rover is well on its way to documenting Mars for us to learn from, but it also wouldn’t be too shocking if this also isn’t the last time that Cruz is “spotted” on Mars.