Special Reports

NASA Goes Hi-Tech With The Jack-O-Lantern , Halloween Science Extreme


If you think you've seen it all during Halloween season, think again after you see NASA's hi-tech jack-o-lanterns. What makes these lanterns special?

The said lanterns were part of the institution's Jet Propulsion Laboratory pumpkin carving contest. However, looking at the lanterns make it look more like a science project than a decoration. Although given only an hour to carve and create their high-tech pumpkins, the participants, who are all engineers from the laboratory, were able create different kinds of interesting jack-o-lanterns.

The pumpkin carving contest was not just to celebrate Halloween but also the organization's birthday. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was established on October 31, 1936. Thus, aside from what the engineers did for the contest, they also created a very special jack-o-lantern to celebrate their birthday: A snowman-looking pumpkin with a birthday hat, a rotating chest, and bedecked with candles.

Meanwhile, all the entries of the contest are very interesting. One pumpkin must be inspired by the movie Saw as it featured a scared looking pumpkin with its face mercilessly cut by a revolving circular saw.

One pumpkin doubled as a lampshade where the light goes up every time you switch it on while another was painted with silver mounted in a jar that has a mini-cow inside. It has an effect of a giant UFO sucking the cow up with a laser beam.

Some pumpkins are inspired by the Star Wars movie with one featuring a very detailed carving of R2D2. The complicated carving is a real work of art. However, the most eye-catching one is the flickering pumpkin carousel.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been doing this for six years just for fun in celebration of the department's birthday. Along with the pumpkins, there are also robotics on display. The pumpkin carving contest is not rocket science but it also showcased the fun side of the engineers.

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