The annual Halloween tradition is observed at ’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA engineers who otherwise spend their days designing and building spacecraft, gather in teams to showcase their pumpkin carving skills. This year’s contest at NASA has produced some of the most imaginative and intricate Halloween pumpkins to date.

NASA’s Arielle Samuelson said: “In a dark conference room, a pumpkin gently landed on the Moon, its retrorockets smouldering, while across the room, a flying saucer pumpkin hovered above Area 51 as a pumpkin alien wreaked havoc.

“Suffice to say that when the scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, compete in a pumpkin-carving contest, the solar system’s the limit.

“Now in its ninth year, the contest gives teams only one hour to carve – off the clock, on their lunch break – though they can prepare non-pumpkin materials — like backgrounds, sound effects and motorised parts — ahead of time.”

One of the two pumpkins crowned victor this year is the “Apollo Lunar Jack-o’-Lander”.

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A pulley system was used to simulate the lander’s descent stage and a hidden smoke machine hidden in the “spacecraft” gave it a realistic touch.

“You don’t get to do much arts and crafts in the rover world.”

The other dinner in this year’s competition was “Lucy’s Chocolate Factory” – a tribute to the popular TV series I Love Lucy.

NASA said: “Not that choosing just two winners from all the creative entries is easy.

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“There was a Europa lander drilling through the moon’s ice into the ocean below and discovering life: a pumpkin version of Disney’s Nemo.

“One team went with a smoking, green-scaled dragon emerging from a pumpkin egg.

“Another created a tableau from the movie “Us,” with a pumpkin stabbing its twin.”

One team went as far as to recreate a pumpkin cat on a Roomba vacuum chasing a laser pointer.

Mechanical engineer Mike Meacham said: “I think people are going bigger this year. I’ve seen a lot of structures, including our own, which is enormous. I had to sneak it in last night.”

On top of the pumpkin carving- completion, NASA’s JPL also hosted a Halloween costume contest.



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