It is a universally acknowledged truth that a news event experienced by many people in possession of social media accounts will inevitably be memed.
Like clockwork Thursday, the landing of the Perseverance Mars rover inspired just that.
What was a scientific triumph, the once-in-a-decade success of space exploration and discovery was quickly, as all things are, turned into internet jokes. The rover touched down just before 4 p.m. EST, broadcasting its first fish-eyed look at Mars a few minutes later.
That image, a rock-strewn landscape, is equally remarkable for how it was captured and unremarkable in that it really is just a rock-strewn landscape. But it provided the perfect template for a wave of internet jokes and references to everything from “The Mandalorian” to U.S. senator Bernie Sanders because is it really a 2021 meme without Bernie?
Really, everyone was trying to make the same Bernie joke. We get it.
The 2015 Matt Damon film “The Martian” also got plenty of shoutouts.
The other big news story of the day, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s regrettable trip to Mexico and subsequent apology amidst a natural disaster in his state, provided plenty of crossover material.
Overall, much like that now iconic image of Sanders in his mittens at Biden’s inauguration, Perseverance’s first images prove to be the perfect meme template in their versatility for everyone from sports teams to local public safety agencies.
NASA itself also launched a “Mars Perseverance Photo Booth” where you can place images of yourself — or whoever you want — on Mars with the rover. So even if photoshopping isn’t your jam, you can get in on the fun.
It’s not every day we get an earnest and versatile new meme. Celebrate it! Enjoy it! Let the small joy of photoshopping Ted Cruz onto the surface of Mars carry us through these times.