"We're NASA and We Know It" celebrates NASA's latest Mars mission.
They're not NASA, and now Mars Curiosity and the world knows it. And that's awesome.
The latest space-based viral video, titled "We're NASA and We Know It," celebrates all the angles of NASA's $2.5 billion Curiosity rover mission to Mars, from the crazy sky-crane landing to the Mohawk Guy's star-spangled hairdo. "I got stars on my 'hawk, and I ain't afraid to show it," the video's rapper declares.
That rapper may look like a blue-shirted NASA flight director, and it may seem as if the three-minute video was shot at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. But it was actually made in Seattle, by a informal comedy group called Satire, with Cinesaurus video wizard David Hudson as the Mohawk-haired star of the show.
The NASA gear was provided by Anne Ketola, who used to work at Mission Control in Houston, and the actors were green-screened to make it look as if they were sitting at JPL.
Even though NASA had no hand in making the video, the group received a high-level endorsement from the Curiosity rover herself.
"This fan-made video is AWESOME (and I know it)," the rover tweeted.
"Basically we just take pop culture topics that are being talked about a lot and make funny videos about them," he told me.
The Curiosity mission is extra-special for them. "We really support what NASA is doing," Cohn said. "We're all techie people, and we're all excited about the landing."
Cohn and his friends had a Mars landing party on Sunday night. They wrote the video script on Thursday, filmed it on Saturday, and launched it today. The YouTube video is just building up a head of steam, but it seems certain to win a place among these other science-related viral videos:
- Movie trailer for a Mars thriller
- Particle physics rap becomes YouTube hit
- The spirit of Carl Sagan in song
- Must-see science videos of 2011
Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.