Later tonight, if all goes as planned, SpaceX's all-civilian mission Inspiration4 will launch from the Kennedy Space Center. With all eyes on this historic launch, did you notice the hidden message in the Inspiration4 official crew photos?
The crew photos were released on Monday in anticipation of the launch and keen eyes spotted the message in Morse code not so much hidden but emblazoned in the background of the pictures. The message is a simple one: “Ad Astra”. This comes from the latter half of the Latin motto: "per ardua ad astra" (and not the Brad Pitt-starring 2019 sci-fi movie), which translates to "through adversity to the stars".
Internet sleuths on the SpaceXLounge subreddit discovered the message written in Morse code in the seemingly random background wall of the photos.
Crewmember Dr Sian Proctor basically confirmed the message on Twitter, tweeting: "Ad astra!" alongside a photo of the crew.
This is not the first hidden message on a space mission of the year. There was one hidden in the parachute of NASA's Perseverance when it landed on Mars, too.
The Inspiration4 launch will lift off at around 8:02 pm EDT this evening (00:22 UTC Thursday), depending on the weather, and will be live-streamed by multiple channels, including SpaceX and Netflix.
This mission is the first with a completely non-professional crew and will take off on a Falcon 9 rocket from the famous Pad39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the launchpad used by the Space Shuttle and the historic Apollo 11 Moon mission.
The Inspiration4 Crew will be in space for about three days and will reach an altitude of 575 kilometers (357 miles) above Earth. That’s a little further out than the orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope and about 160 kilometers (100 miles) higher than the International Space Station.
The Inspiration4 mission will not only carry out tests on the crew member but is raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The all-civilian crew include Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Christopher Sembroski, and Dr Sian Proctor. Isaacman, the billionaire founder and CEO of payment processing company Shift4 Payments, is bankrolling the flight and has donated half of the $200 million dollars they hope to raise with this mission.