NASA engineers create a parachuting pumpkin for their annual Halloween contest

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It’s that time of year again when NASA scientists compete to make the most creative, the most technologically challenging, and the most impressive pumpkin display of them all. This year, pumpkins spun, floated, and sailed like ships in the seventh annual (unofficial) pumpkin carving contest at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The rules of the pumpkin carving contest are simple, says Pete Waydo, deputy section manager of spacecraft mechanical engineering at JPL and a judge of the contest. Contestants can pick up their pumpkins a week before the competition and start assembling their displays, but only on the day of the contest can they actually work on their pumpkins — in just one hour. Other than that, Waydo says, “There are no rules.”

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