did you carve pumpkins this halloween? were they outfitted with robotic arms? held aloft by parachutes? operated via remote control? — neither were ours. but engineers at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california took on the challenge of creating the most dramatic, sometimes space-inspired sculptural squash for their annual pumpkin carving contest. 

NASA pumpkin carving
a pumpkin turns off its lights during the 2016 edition
all images and gifs courtesy of NASA/JPL-caltech

 

 

highlights from this year’s NASA jet propulsion laboratory pumpkin carving contest include a banksy-style shredder and a human-scale jack-o’-lantern playing a guitar. past standouts include a celestial pirate ship sailing past jupiter on an ocean of dry ice, and a pumpkin engineered with a robotic arm capable of turning a light on and off. in celebration of halloween, designboom rounds up a few our our favorites from the competition over the years.  

NASA pumpkin carving
a pumpkin becomes an exploding star 

NASA pumpkin carving
various mechanisms make this pumpkin move 

NASA pumpkin carving
a celestial pirate ship sails its way to the top of the competition 

NASA pumpkin carving
a pumpkin flies after being engineered during the 2017 contest

NASA pumpkin carving
many of the creations are inspired by space, like this orbiting pumpkin creation 

NASA pumpkin carving
others, instead, are inspired by the halloween spirit 

NASA pumpkin carving
JPL engineers created a spinning pumpkin carousel for the 2016 contest

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