August 6th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Meet 'Mohawk Guy,' star of the Mars landing

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Forget Rick Moranis glasses, starchy button-ups and pocket protectors.

Meet the new generation at NASA: Bobak Ferdowsi, better known as "Mohawk Guy." Ferdowsi was spotted wearing a red-and-black mohawk with yellow stars dyed on the sides of his head during the U.S. space agency's overnight landing of its Mars rover, "Curiosity."

The Internet quickly turned him into a meme, superimposing text like "The Mohawk That Landed a Rover on Mars" and "Becomes an Internet sensation ... Too busy landing a robot on Mars to notice" over his images.

In case you'd forgotten, here's what the old guard at NASA looked like:

That's from the Apollo 11 landing.

Maybe the contrast, in part, explains "Mohawk Guy's" popularity.

There's an entire Tumblr blog dedicated to Ferdowsi, and several recreations of his likeness, including one that looks to be done in watercolors (but that might just be Instagram). And BuzzFeed has at least a half-dozen images of him on its site, from "Busy Bobak" to "Teamwork Bobak" and "Talking Bobak," which links to this video of him talking about Saturn (to some really bizarre music).

That's pre-mohawk, of course. It sounds like he changed his hair for this mission:

On Twitter, some people lauded him as the face of a new generation in science:

And just gawked:

A feed that mocks North Korea's leader asked him for help:

Meanwhile, Ferdowsi seems to be a pretty good sport about the whole thing:

For more (and more-serious) info on "Curiosity," check out CNN's news story on the topic. And we have the photos.

Via The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, The Guardian

Post by:
Filed under: Culture • Fashion • Science • Space
soundoff (392 Responses)
  1. In home personal training

    I found it nuts that so much attention was casted on 'Mohawk Guy,' The star of the Mars landing, Come on really?

    April 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Reply
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    December 5, 2012 at 6:21 am | Reply
  4. Deep Space

    Earth Is The True Planet Of War, Not Mars (Curiosity Rover)

    August 12, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • Gold

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      September 24, 2012 at 1:44 am | Reply
  5. Terri

    Oh and this guy has nothing on hair when compared to Einstein! Genius doesn't care what others think about the way they look! They have more important things to concern themselves with!

    August 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Maureen

      the pictures are great! the black & white ones are amaizng!! i like the face in the purple shirt pic, but not the purple shirt so much the first one w/the blue shirt is really pretty! they are all great images, great job emily and jennifer!!! and yes, someday we'll be going to lincoln center opera to see emily!!!

      August 22, 2012 at 1:53 am | Reply
  6. mmmm

    mmmm he's cute too 😉

    August 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • shahin2102

      He's Iranian.

      *nervously awaiting your reaction*

      August 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
      • felyika

        he s cute and seems smart, but I think ladies need to stop getting high everytime a cute guy is around the corner, and the mohawk makes him looks really cool: cute, intelligent and rebel. Three components to make girls go c r a z y. Sometimes i am ashamed of being a girl, we get so easily distracted and excited, silly 🙂 But he s cute though

        August 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  7. Tom

    This guy is just a small piece of a big system. It's not like he landed the Rover all by himself! Get real people. We get so easily distracted by the bizarre!

    August 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • yeop

      and we have another @ s $ hole who turns a good thing into a bad thing.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
      • Laila

        What wonderful picterus and presentation to wake-up to in the morning! Thank you Jennifer for offering this wonderful keepsake for my Sydney, Todd and most importantly Finna. May life's rewards be showered upon you now and in the future! Thank you again! Finna's Grandma Sue

        August 22, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Terri

      Bizarre? I see fun, don't see bizarre at all...

      August 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  8. skb8721

    Hey, anything that brings positive attention to NASA is good for NASA . . . so I don't see all the attention that's being given to Mohawk Guy as a bad thing or as a distraction from the rover at all. In fact, Mohawk Guy makes NASA seem very hip and may inspire young people to pay more attention to science and, who knows, perhaps follow in his footsteps career-wise.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • Terri

      I realize he changes his hair for big events and may not have this hair all the time but I know so many successful young people with tats, fun hair and funky clothes. They are the awesome geeks and nerds (loving terms, finally) with super intelligence and drive who realize intelligence is about what is inside the brain not outside the body. So glad the pompous days are slowly dying.

      August 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • Sandra

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        September 24, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Manuel

        Ich danke euch beiden h bhecsn. Euer Foto ist schon der Hammer, aber die Karte die ihr mir geschickt habt toppt alles. Das ist die beste Karte die ich jemals bekommen habe.Vielen vielen Dank daf r.

        September 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Naiber

      Vero, ma basta prenderci la mano ci sono tanti di quei comdnai e di combinazioni di tasti che mi sembrava di impazzire, ma era troppo bello sdraiarsi fra l'erba, mimetizzarsi, alzarsi un pochino per guardarsi intorno, avvicinarsi furtivamente dietro a un soldato e con la tecnica del CQC zack!! Era tuo! E lo potevi anche interrogare e spesso ti dava dei trucchetti

      August 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  9. Hogan's Goat

    The guy has a good head on his shoulders.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
    • Liz

      Please protect Medical Marijuana Patients.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  10. Simon

    This makes the headlines?

    Meanwhile what's happened to the coverage of the historic mission?

    No surprise should the US eventually lose its lead in space exploration, as our society is more fascinated by fashion and pop culture than by ground breaking science.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:18 am | Reply
  11. Alan Mitchell

    This guy has a mohawk and landed the Mars rover...that's it? What's the big deal. Alan Mitchel can sport a mohawk and land the Mars rover.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
    • MaryInBoise

      Well Alan Mitchell, we're waiting. Time's wasting. Get on that........*chirp chirp chirp*

      August 9, 2012 at 2:12 am | Reply
  12. followon

    This is sad.. many talented, real engineers who designed and developed the H/W and S/W did not get the publicity.
    Those are the people that make this a reality.
    Just my 2 cents.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  13. bobo

    Seems like a cool guy.

    August 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  14. Eddie O.

    Let me guess.... I bet he will be on an episode of the "Big Bang Theory". Any takers?

    August 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • cachupemi

      I don't think Sheldon would approve of him. But I can see Howard inviting him for sleepovers...

      August 9, 2012 at 2:01 am | Reply
  15. Jataka

    Big deal. Did Nasa figure out how to solve any problems on Earth? Oh.....that's right.......NASA = Fail.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • New Gawker

      Luckily educated people across the country don't think like you do. If we stopped trying to explore and learn because of societal problems we'd still be riding horses. enjoy living in your tiny box.

      August 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
    • toplevelcomputers

      They have given us, anti-corrosive coating (Stuff used on bridges, cars, oil rigs, pipelines, etc), memory foam, cochlear implants, scratch resistant lenses, insulin pumps, and countless other things, such as breast cancer detection.

      August 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • cedar rapids

      er, last i checked fixing problems on earth wasnt exactly NASA's arena so not sure how you can claim fail.

      August 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • Daws

      Um, good luck doing so without the wealth of data they've provided with their satellites...

      August 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
    • Bruce

      If it weren't for NASA, you'd have no personal computer to post your Internet whining – and no Internet.

      August 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • ART

      Thats a really thoughtful and intelligent comment. You sound like a complete moron.

      Did you get past 3rd grade? (no insult meant to children in K-3)

      August 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
    • nichole

      The human race is the reason why earth has the problems it does.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • John

      NASA and the JPL are continually improving life on this planet for all of humanity. People that refuse to "see' this fact are blind. I would vote that NASA's budget be increased 20x so they can work out a better future for all humanity.
      Certianly, this would have been better for he world than Obama giving trillions of tax dollars to failed companies and secret friends. I still want Obama to be accountable and tell America where every dime he stole from the USA went.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:43 am | Reply
  16. cjamesatl

    Again, another stupid and senseless news story. CNN, you've once again proved you are not a news source, but yet another entertainment media rag.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Ben

      It's a blog, chief. Relax. No "real news" got bumped from some critical position above the fold for this article to be here.

      August 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • Irene Done

      Go somewhere else!

      August 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • ART

      Then why do you go to DUHHHHHHH

      August 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  17. conservative ideals

    Whats funny is that if he were to apply for a job anywhere else they would have thrown away his resume. He may have worked for NASA and helped land something on Mars but with a haircut like that he isnt even qualified to be a sign holder. Companies in america are looking for clean cut kids with no talent.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • Maria B.

      Impeach Obama, Arrest Holder for crimes against Medical Marijuana Patients..!

      August 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
      • caw

        Now now Maria, take your medication and put your tin foil hat back on. Big Brother is still only still watching, he hasn't come for you.... YET!

        August 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Jennifer88

      Closing every dispensary in San Diego with federal agents in masks to terrorize the citizens is treason... Obama is a hypocrite.

      August 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • lewax00

      Funny, I have hair like that and I've had no difficulty getting jobs. Not everyone is as closed minded as you.

      August 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
    • Unegen

      Sour grapes is a conservative's way of telling you they're jealous.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  18. Space Rock

    To all these girls who have a crush on this guy... just be aware that he may be a gay man.

    August 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Clumbaby

      NOPE. He has a girlfriend.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • felyika


      August 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  19. Hogan's Goat

    Of course, you are all alert people and noticed that he did this specifically to celebrate the landing, right? You aren't dumb enough to suppose that he walks around with that stuff on his head 24/7, right? Oh wait, I see you are. Tsk, how embarrassing for you.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
  20. BriSoFla

    This guy is H*O*T!!!!!

    Hey Mohawk Guy come down to Wilton Manors in South Florida and date me! YUMMY SLURP!

    August 8, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Will

      Let's see... he has gold stars painted on his head, his hair's died purple.... I'm sorry to break it to you, but I don't think he'd be interested. 😦 Unless "Bri" is short for "Brian".

      August 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • Willlll

      Let's see... he has gold stars painted on his head, his hair's dyed purple.... I'm sorry to break it to you, but I don't think he'd be interested. 😦 Unless "Bri" is short for "Brian".

      August 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • Willlll

      And I just saw your earlier comment - apparently it is short for Brian. He rpobably would be interested, haha.

      This site's comment system is so broken.

      August 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  21. Brian in South Florida

    This guy is H*O*T! I hope he is plays for my team! YUMMY! SLURP!

    August 8, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  22. Brian in South Florida

    This guy is hot! I'd hit that in a New York minute! Hey mohawk guy, this is crazy so here's my number – CALL ME NOW! SLURP!

    August 8, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  23. Shawn

    As a fellow Iranian, his accomplishments make me proud. We are not all terrorists or hostage takers.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • karek40

      The question is not what you are doing now, the question is what will you do when the Mahdi comes on the scene?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:39 am | Reply
      • IdrinkTea

        Retardation does not have limits.... calling all Muslims or Iranian "terrorists" is like seeing one white racist person and call all the white people racist.... !!! you gotta be careful how you may affect people with your words.. A lot of us leaving in north america are just working class people trying to provide for our families...

        August 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  24. mike

    It's just hair, people. What's the big deal? It's as silly to be awed by it as it is to be threatened by it.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  25. Malfean

    You know... I respect the fact that NASA looked past the man's haircut and saw an intelligent person sitting there at his interview. I also like the fact that he wasn't some doddled 80yr old. Although his hair style isn't exactly my thing, it was very refreshing to see SOMEONE of his generation actually doing something for science, and not working as some useless tool at a law firm or bank. Good on you!

    August 8, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
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