Mars Curiosity rover sings ‘Happy Birthday,’ dares Earth to collect royalties


One year ago today, NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on the surface of Mars and began studying the planet. The rover may be lonely out there on its first birthday, but it won’t go entirely without celebration: NASA has repurposed Curiosity’s soil analysis system to play the tune of “Happy Birthday to You” out loud for all of Mars to hear.

Though the analysis system doesn’t include a loudspeaker, it does include a motor that can loudly vibrate at very specific frequencies. Normally, the motor is used to help move soil through the analysis system, but it’s been modified for the day to produce the exact frequencies that make up “Happy Birthday.” Such a performance of the ubiquitous jingle would usually require a license from Warner Music, but the recording group is likely to have trouble collecting any royalties on Mars. —The Verge.