NASA's celebrity flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, the "Mohawk Guy," will march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday alongside a life-size replica of the space agency's Mars Curiosity rover and the Orion space capsule.
Presidential inaugurations attract celebrities and Ferdowsi is probably NASA's most popular online celebrity figure. His presence may catch the attention of President Obama who reportedly once commented at the images of racy-looking NASA employees at the rover landing: "It does seem NASA has come a long way from the white shirts, dark-rimmed glasses, and pocket protectors. You guys are a little cooler than you used to be.”
Ferdowsi, in an interview with Wired.com, said he hopes his presence will provide opportunity for more people to get better acquainted with NASA's activities. He said: "It will be a fun opportunity to highlight some of the cool things that NASA is doing, including Curiosity. [It's] a way of showing a larger audience what we’re up to."
Space.com reports Ferdowsi will march with NASA's Curiosity rover and the Orion capsule in the company of other NASA scientists. According to Space.com, NASA's Orion deep-space capsule is the agency's new design to carry astronauts into space. It is hoped the capsule will be used in future manned missions to asteroids, the Moon and possibly Mars.
Ferdowsi also said the parade will give people opportunity of an impression of what both the Curiosity rover and the Orion capsule look like in real-life. He said: "I've seen some sketches and they look pretty cool – I think the Curiosity one is going to be on some Martian terrain. When you see us standing next to it you’ll realize how big it is, I think that’s what’s cool."
Digital Journal reported that the mohawked NASA staffer shot to Internet stardom during TV coverage of the landing of Curiosity rover on Mars. He spotted a mohawk hairstyle that included red, black and yellow stars dyed in on the side. His unique coiffure attracted attention and led to tweets, memes and Tumblr accounts dedicated to him. Netizens became enamored with the notion of his unconventional figure as the image of a "new generation at NASA," as Obama also suggested in his comment.
Space.com reports that after he shot to attention at the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, he commented: "The things we do, the exploration we do, is not just about learning about other planets. It's about understanding our own. NASA gives us a chance to travel outside our world as a way to look back and learn about ourselves as a species — as people. There's nowhere else in the world where you get to do that."
Bobak Ferdowsi recently spotted on his famous mohawk hairdo the Morse Code letter "JPL," in "homage to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California where he works."
He says he will be sporting a new hairdo at the Presidential inauguration, but he is keeping details of his inauguration day hairstyle secret until he unveils it at the parade. He told Wired..com: "I can’t tell you [what it is], but it’s going to be something fun for the occasion, I think it’s going to be fun for everyone there. It’ll be something related to the event going on, that’s all I’m going to say.”