What happens when you mix the world’s top astrophysicists with Halloween-themed arts and crafts materials? The answer can be found every year at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), which has just hosted its annual pumpkin carving nerd-fest for the sixth time – and the results are nothing short of spectacular.
NASA's latest space telescope. Aaron Yazzie via Twitter
As per usual, the JPL engineers have shunned the traditional jack-o-lantern ghoulish faces in favor of space-themed creations, including a UFO abducting a cow in its traction beam, a pumpkin-seed-swallowing black hole, and a telescope peering out at the planets of the Solar System as they orbit the Sun.
Juno orbiting a pumpkin Jupiter and its moon Europa. JPL via Flickr
A UFO abducts a representative from Earth. Aaron Yazzie via Twitter
Several entries paid homage to some of NASA’s recent missions, including two pumpkin-based models of Juno hovering over Jupiter and Europa, while others tackled other topical issues such as the presidential election.
Juno orbiting Jupiter. JPL via Flickr
Pac-Man makes an appearance. JPL via Flickr
Never ask an astrophysicist for their political opinion. Aaron Yazzie via Twitter
Popular culture was well represented among the weird and wonderful creations, with Darth Vader, Pac-Man, and Stranger Things all depicted in pumpkin form. One entry even wished a happy birthday to JPL itself, which was founded on Halloween exactly 80 years ago.
Darth Vader gets in on the act. Aaron Yazzie via Twitter
JPL is 80 years old today. JPL via Flickr
The contest has no official winner, so you’ll have to choose your own favorite.
A particularly pointless entry. JPL via Flickr
A Halloween fairground ride. JPL via Flickr
NASA always takes Halloween to the next level. JPL via Flickr
Pumpkins are the perfect receptacles for Martian soil samples. JPL via Flickr
A Stranger Things-based entry. Aaron Yazzie via Twitter
A black hole. Aaron Yazzie via Twitter