Ever since Mars rover Curiosity touched down on the Red Planet earlier this month, the mission has completely captivated the public’s attention. Everything from the Rover’s harrowing landing sequence to flight director Bobak Ferdowsi’s mohawk have been covered extensively in the media and even spawned a series of “Mohawk Guy” memes. The latest addition to the recent flood of Curiosity themed parodies and memes is YouTube channel Satire’s LMFAO-infused parody “We’re NASA and We Know It.”
The parody (which you can check out below) is a loving tribute to the men and women who worked on making Curiosity a reality. “We’re NASA and We Know It” features a singer sporting the same Mohawk as Ferdowsi and includes a cast of characters playing real-life NASA flight control members such as mission project manager Pete Theisinger. The parody reached over 340,000 views since its upload yesterday and has already received praise-filled tweets from NASA’s Curiosity account and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
We recently caught up with one of the masterminds behind “We’re NASA and We Know It,” Alexander Theoharis, to talk about NASA and JPL’s reaction to the parody and why that robot is wearing a bikini.
It seems like LMFAO parodies are really popular right now. Why did you decide to create one specifically dealing with NASA and Curiosity?
Alexander Theoharis: The goal with the new channel is to create content based on what’s trending online. We’re all big space fans and seeing that Curiosity was making such a splash meant it was a perfect fit. We were actually debating a few different potential songs; Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” was a strong contender. Ultimately, the phrase “We’re NASA and We Know It” won our creative team over, though.
Are you guys big fans of the JPL and the NASA space program?
Theoharis: Definitely! The two space suits you see on breakdancers in the video were homemade costumes our members had used for previous projects, and David Hudson (the singer, @DubHud) leapt at the chance to shave stars into his head. No one asked him to do that — he was just that gung-ho. The director, Forest Gibson (@ForestGibson) is also a big fan of NASA’s work.
Have you shared the parody with JPL and NASA? How did they like it?
Theoharis: NASA’s twitter account, Mars Curiosity’s twitter account, Bobak Ferdowski, and Neil deGrasse Tyson have all tweeted it with praise. Word on the street is that folks at NASA have gotten a kick out of it, which makes our chests swell to no end. Apparently they played it in mission control this morning.
Why do you think that this parody is doing so well right now?
Theoharis: It’s catchy, it’s about a hot topic and we made sure to make sure we put out a quality product.
Did you think it was important to include actual references to the men and women who worked at JPL’s mission control?
Theoharis: We included Peter Theisinger and Bobak Ferdowski (the guy in the white wig and the guy in the mohawk) because we felt they were nicely iconic of NASA. We put in a rush bulk order of blue polos to round out the team, and everyone was adorned with (real NASA) patches of previous missions. We’ve had some comments from folks at JPL wondering how we made the badges — after we were able to see a real one, some time in Photoshop completed the look.
L.A. Times writer Amina Kahn in an article about “We’re NASA and We Know It” wondered why Curiosity was in an American flag bikini. So, why is the rover in an American flag bikini?
Theoharis: This is a nod to the original LMFAO videos, where a box-headed robot takes part in the festivities. It was originally intended to be played by a break dancer, but the helmet was too restrictive and had limited airflow. We wound up finding space suits for the break dancers, leaving the helmet unclaimed. The music video for “I’m Sexy And I Know It” has the male cast in thongs wiggling at the camera, an aspect we didn’t have an analogue for in our parody. Tara Theoharis (@GeekyHostess) had a last-minute idea that she could wear it as a throwback to the LMFAO video since Curiosity is referred to as a female, and we thought it was a funny concept. We wanted to have her stand out from the other NASA blue polos, so she swapped out of her khakis and polo for some American pride.
What are you guys looking to do a parody on next?
Theoharis: We’ll be releasing a new video every week (on Wednesdays). Our next video is still being written, but you can expect to see some riffing on Kickstarter. We’ve got a pretty amazing team of folks, and we hope you’ll keep watching!