NASA's 'Mohawk Guy' to March in Obama's Inaugural Parade

When President Barack Obama takes his oath of office to begin his second term Monday, NASA will be there.

NASA's famed "Mohawk Guy" Bobak Ferdowsi will march in Monday's Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday (Jan. 21) along with life-size replicas of the space agency's Mars rover Curiosity and Orion space capsule.

Ferdowsi is a flight director at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory whose unique hairdo catapulted him to Internet fame after the spectacular Mars rover Curiosity landing last year.

"The things we do, the exploration we do, is not just about learning about other planets. It's about understanding our own. NASA gives us a chance to travel outside our world as a way to look back and learn about ourselves as a species — as people. There's nowhere else in the world where you get to do that," Ferdowsi said in a statement.

Ferdowsi will march in the inaugural parade alongside Curiosity, the Orion spacecraft and other NASA scientists as part of the agency's official Presidential Inaugural Weekend. The $2.5 billion Curiosity rover landed on Mars on Aug. 5 to begin a two-year mission aimed at determining if the planet could have ever supported microbial life. [Obama and NASA: A Presidential Gallery]

NASA's Orion deep-space capsule — the agency's first new spaceship designed by NASA since the space shuttle in the 1970s — is designed to send humans farther into space than ever before. The space agency hopes the capsule will be the vessel for manned missions to asteroids, the moon and even Mars.

NASA is also hosting an open house for the agency’s social media participants today (Jan. 18) in honor of the inauguration as well. The open house is available to the public without a reservation, but 75 specially chosen guests will get a “reserved seat” that gives them special access to various events throughout the day.

The open house will also include panel discussions with NASA astronauts and displays showing off some of the agency’s accomplishments.

Telescopes will be set up outside the David M. Brown Planetarium in Arlington, Va., for a "Star Party" tomorrow (Jan. 19). Experts with NASA will speak about the future of space exploration and missions the agency already has in the works.

For NASA's full schedule of Inaugural Weekend events, click here.

You can follow staff writer Miriam Kramer on Twitter @mirikramer.