Arts & Entertainment

JPL geniuses also slay at pumpkin carving

An entry in JPL's 2016 pumpkin-carving contest. A sign accompanying this candy-filled pumpkin read:
An entry in JPL's 2016 pumpkin-carving contest. A sign accompanying this candy-filled pumpkin read: "Mars sample returns are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Besides sending probes to orbit Saturn, rovers to roam Mars and super-strong adhesive to the Space Station — and doing it all while juggling nuclear families — the geniuses at JPL have another stellar skill: Carving pumpkins.

Researchers at the Pasadena facility demonstrated their creative streak at JPL's annual Halloween celebration, working to outdo each other with ever more elaborate and mechanized pumpkins.

Imagine "Ace of Cakes" meets "Robot Wars" with a dash of "RuPaul's Drag Race" thrown in — but starring scientists with gourds, knives and electronics.

From a pumpkin capable of turning off its own lights to a silver replica of the Juno probe orbiting Jupiter, all manner of pumpkin-carving realness was on display.

Some teams served up 1980s nostalgia, like this Ms. Pacman homage:

Flickr pacman

Others went for terror and pathos, like this pumpkin facing the sharp end of JPL's Starshade:

flickr saw

They're all fitting tributes, especially since JPL's 80th birthday falls on Halloween this year.