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Bobak Ferdowsi, MSL Flight Engineer and NASA's 'Mohawk Guy'
 
MSL Flight Engineer, Bobak Ferdowsi, profile photograph displaying stars-and-stripes mohawk that made him an internet sensation
Profile of Bobak Ferdowsi, MSL Flight Engineer
Image credit: NASA/JPL, Bobak Ferdowsi blog: Martian Diaries

A sketch of Mohawk Guy standing over his desk
Sketch of Bobak Ferdowsi, 2012.
Image credit: Image retrieved from NASA's Mohawk Guy Facebook Fan Page

Sketch of Bobak Ferdowsi's profile on a white background
Bobak Ferdowsi, 2012.
Image credit: Image retrieved from NASA's Mohawk Guy Facebook Fan Page, J.C. Flores

Bobak Ferdowsi: Mohawk Guy

Although NASA’s mission control room was packed with dozens of rocket scientists during the landing of Mars Curiosity rover, no one made a bigger impression on live-television viewers than flight engineer Bobak Ferdowsi.

The 32-year-old Oakland native has become the star of NASA’s mission coverage, becoming an overnight internet sensation thanks in large part to his stars-and-stripes, mohawk haircut and his ever-growing social media fan base. Since his television debut in the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) mission control, he has become known as simply, ‘Mohawk Guy.’

Throughout the Mars rover landing, twitter hashtags such as ‘Mars Landing,’ ‘Mars Curiosity’ and ‘JPL’ became worldwide trends, and the account @MarsCuriosity grew to more than 900,000 followers within just a week its landing. Even Ferdowsi’s personal twitter account, @tweetsoutloud, gained over 55,000 followers, which catapulted his internet stardom.

‘Mohawk Guy’ also emerged in other social media platforms, and gained popularity in various tumblrs and memes, including taglines like “Mars? Please. I already hit that,” and, more famously, “Becomes an internet sensation. Too busy landing a rover on mars.”

NASA fan club t-shirts were even been created, which portray a screen-print image of Ferdowsi’s profile, including his famous stars-and-stripes mohawk; they demonstrate how his edgy, unique presence among the traditionally clean-cut NASA engineers has awarded him instant, worldwide fame. Ferdowsi was also labeled the “sexiest nerd at NASA” by various online sources, and received dozens of marriage proposals from strangers online.

President Obama called JPL to congratulate the engineers on their successful Mars landing. During the call he gave a shout out to Mohawk Guy, celebrating his unique appearance and how his edgy mohawk was making science ‘cooler’ than it used to be.

Recently, Mohawk Guy hosted a two-hour online broadcast on Internet radio satellite Third Rock Radio. The show, entitled Getting Curious with the Mohawk Guy, features Ferdowsi discussing his experience with the rover’s landing, the renewed interest in science and exploration, and NASA’s evolving image.

Since Curiosity’s landing, Ferdowsi helped popularize the Mars rover mission with young people and modernize the public’s perception of NASA scientists and engineers.

For more information about MSL's Curiosity Rover, see here: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/