Robots to robot: âHappy birthday, Curiosity!â
NASA’s long-lived Mars robotic rover Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on today’s date (August 5) in the year 2012. On its 1st birthday in 2013, Curiosity sang a solitary Happy Birthday to itself from Mars’ lonely surface. In 2022 – for Curiosity’s 10th birthday – 100,000 robotic lawnmowers on Earth are expected to sing Happy Birthday to Curiosity.
And you can watch the 100,000 mowers sing Happy Birthday on YouTube on August 5. We’ll post that video here when it becomes available.
Husqvarna, the company that makes the lawnmowers, developed a new firmware program for its robotic mowers. Owners of the lawnmowers just need to update in order to allow their lawn-mowing robots to sing to Curiosity, using musical tones. More about that below. As Linda Lindqvist, Product Manager Robotics at Husqvarna, said:
From a choir of robots on Earth to the loneliest robot in the universe, Happy Birthday!
The company said it’s the first time so many robots will take part in celebrating the birthday of a Mars rover. But not the last?
How does it work?
The firmware update is being provided for three models of Automower® robotic lawnmowers: models 405X, 415X and 435X AWD. The update is available for 100,000 of the mowers around the world. In September, it will become a permanent feature of those models.
The technology is based on the mower’s existing alarm signal. The integration platform IFTTT will enable the mowers to sing Happy Birthday. Björn Mannefred, Robotics Software Manager at Husqvarna, said:
For us this is a way to pay homage to the great engineering work of NASA, and that of our extensive team of robotic experts, by letting our robotic mowers celebrate a fellow robot … nobody should have to sing Happy Birthday to themselves, right?
How to join the celebration
So if you own one of those mower models, how can you join in the fun? Owners of those models will be notified about the update through the Husqvarna Automower® Connect app. You can then choose to opt in before the event. After following the steps, your mower will automatically sing at 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. (your local time) on August 5.
Learn more and get step-by-step instructions on Husqvarna’s Happy Birthday page.
Curiosity has been exploring Gale Crater since 2012, finding evidence for habitable conditions a few billion years ago when the crater used to be a lake. The rover recently spotted some odd stick-like objects that look like mini-hoodoos. The rover has been working hard, so it deserves a big Happy Birthday … robots to robot!
Curiosity’s 1st birthday song
The NASA video below explains the origin of the idea to have Curiosity sing Happy Birthday to itself in 2013 … and lets you hear Curiosity singing.
From robots to robot: Happy birthday!
This second video – from Husqvarna – looks kinda like an ad for robotic lawnmowers. But, if you watch, you’ll get a chance to hear the lawnmower choir singing Happy Birthday.
And here’s the story on TikTok
And check out another cool take on the story, from TikTok, below. It captures the poignancy of Curiosity’s birthday celebrations, on the lonely, windswept desert world next door to Earth. Go, @astro_alexandra!
@astro_alexandra Mars rover Curiosity sang happy birthday to itself… #mars #spacetok #stemtok #sciencetok #astronomy ? original sound – ASTRO ALEXANDRA ?
Bottom line: On August 5, over 100,000 robots – Husqvarna robotic lawn mowers – will sing Happy Birthday to NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. And you can participate!