Last week, NASA announced that members of the Artemis I mission had hidden several easter eggs around the capsule for people to solve. We have to admit that some had us stumped and we even dismissed one as part of the design rather than an actual puzzle to solve.
The puzzles were tributes to late members of the mission as well as references to the present and past of lunar exploration. There were five of them in total – we managed to spot four and got two right.
This is how we did. We did notice the morse code above the Callisto Tech Demo. It spelled Charlie. While we thought it was a reference to Charlie Brown, as Snoopy was the mascot for the uncrewed trip around the Moon, it was instead a tribute to former Orion Deputy Program Manager Charlie Lundquist, who died in 2020.
Another tribute was the Red Bird that we erroneously mistook for an Eagle. It was actually a cardinal. This was in memory of former Orion Program manager, Johnson Space Center director, and devout St. Louis Cardinals fan Mark Geyer, who died in 2021.
What we got right, however, was the post-it note. It reads CBAGF and it has some weird dashes on top. It was indeed musical notations – the first five notes of “Fly Me To The Moon” written by Bart Howard for his partner of 58 years, Thomas Fowler. The Frank Sinatra rendition became closely associated with the Apollo Program.
And another reference to the Apollo program is something we dismissed as just décor. On the top of the pilot seat next to the NASA worm logo, there are five drawn rectangles: the first is black then two whites, then a black one again, and finally a white one. This is the binary code for 18. The last Apollo mission to get to the Moon was Apollo 17. Yesterday, when Orion came back to Earth, it was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 17 Moon Landing.
And last but not least is the series of numbers on the far wall. On the first line are 1, 31, 32, 33, 34, 39. On the following line starting underneath 31, there are 41, 45, 46, 47, 49. We guessed they could be coordinates, something we suspected was very wrong.
Something we didn’t include was also wrong but closer to the truth. We considered the possibility of it being a phone number given that the US country code is +1. We obviously discounted this idea because they were in ascending order, very peculiar for a phone number.
So we are very annoyed that we didn’t realize that they were all country codes, specifically of all the countries that contributed to the development and building of the spacecraft’s European Service Module: the United States, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, and The Netherlands.
Did you get them all and did you do better than us?