Skip to main content

NASA's Mars 2020 rover photobombed by mysterious 'High Bay Bob' in sunglasses

If you've been paying attention to the space engineers readying NASA's Mars 2020 rover, you may have noticed a recent surprise visitor in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (opens in new tab) (JPL) in California.

A live feed of the clean room, which streams online here (opens in new tab), shows technicians in the clean room's white coveralls (often referred to as "bunny suits") caring for the vehicle and preparing the Mars machinery to be shipped to its next destination, NASA's Kennedy Space Center (opens in new tab) in Florida. 

Related: NASA's Mars 2020 rover in pictures

Well-dressed in bunny suit, High Bay Bob mannequin. (Image credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory with analysis from Space.com)

But if you were paying close attention, you may have noticed that one of these bunny-suited technicians looks to be frozen in time, standing completely still and wearing a pair of sunglasses. This "worker" stays in that same spot, hour after hour, day or night. Could it be a well-paid (and strangely still) security guard? A worker inexplicably shunned by their Mars 2020 rover teammates?

Andrew Good from NASA JPL's media relations team cleared up this clean room mystery. 

It turns out that the silent "stand-in" is local JPL celebrity "High Bay Bob," a bunny suit-clad mannequin, Good confirmed. The extra addition to the clean room was present for a few days keeping the hardworking crew company. 

High Bay Bob is gone now, his departure just as mysterious as his arrival, but you can still watch the Mars 2020 rover come together. To see live views of Mars 2020 as engineers build the rover, visit JPL's "Watch Mars 2020 Come Together" page here!

The Mars 2020 rover, which will soon be renamed (opens in new tab), is scheduled to launch toward Mars on July 17.

In this image taken Dec. 24, 2019, NASA's Mars 2020 rover is near ready for shipping to Kennedy Space Center. The rover's launch window is from July 17 to Aug. 5, 2020. (Image credit: YouTube/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Leonard David is author of the recently released book, "Moon Rush: The New Space Race (opens in new tab)" published by National Geographic in May 2019. A longtime writer for Space.com, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

All About Space Holiday 2019

Need more space? Subscribe to our sister title "All About Space" Magazine (opens in new tab) for the latest amazing news from the final frontier! (Image credit: All About Space)
(opens in new tab)

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as Space.com's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He was received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.