Peanuts, Playoff Beards and the Other Curiosities of Landing NASA's New Mars Rover

Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 21:30 in Astronomy & Space

Peanuts Lucky peanuts in specially labeled jars are a JPL tradition -- and a necessity in Mission Control on landing night. The sticker reads "Dare Mighty Things." Rebecca BoyleScientists are not immune to superstitions -- they need lucky legumes PASADENA, Calif. -- The mood is increasingly electric here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where worldwide media, dignitaries and hordes of scientists and engineers are gathered to watch the new Mars rover's landing attempt. The Mars rover Curiosity is three and a half hours from touchdown -- scheduled for 10:31 p.m. Pacific time, 1:31 a.m. Monday Eastern time -- and it's almost time to break out the peanuts. Lucky peanuts are just one game-day tradition here at JPL, where managers and engineers have a slew of superstitious habits and lucky totems. Team leaders bought plenty of 20-ounce canisters of shelled roasted peanuts for Mission Control, the rover operations center and who knows...

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