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NASA’s Incredible Pumpkin Carving Contest Wins Halloween

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was formed on October 31, 1936, so some pretty read Halloween celebrations are no doubt in order for the organization that works with robots on the giant space pumpkin, a.k.a. Mars. Last week, they showed off their engineering prowess on some pumpkins, and the results just might make you throw in the towel if you were making any last-minute jack-o’-lanterns today.

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Of course, being built by the good people at NASA, the pumpkins have a bit more going for them than just some creative knife work. Most of them have some kind of electronic or robotic element involved, and a lot of them are as wonderfully geeky as you’d expect. Take, for example, this elaborate swing pumpkin that’s absolutely playing the same music as Big Boo’s carousel from Super Mario 64:

I see what you did there, JPL, and I like it.

There was also this Vader pumpkin:

And, of course, a 2016 Halloween Pumpkin show wouldn’t be complete without a Stranger Things entry:

There was also a Pac-Man-themed pumpkin to round out the video game references, as well as space-themed entries, like a black hole pumpkin that devours pumpkin seeds mercilessly:

And this hilarious “Martian Sample Return Mission”:

Hey, it might be too late to create something for this year that can compete with NASA’s, but maybe now you’ve got some inspiration for next year’s pumpkin. I the meantime, let’s wish the Jet Propulsion Laboratory another happy birthday! May they keep inspiring us both in Halloween decor and in general.

(featured image via Double Feature on Flickr)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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