Thursday , February 25 2021

NASA handshake was inspired by NFL players

After the InSight Lander 's successful touchdown Monday on the surface of Mars, mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, erupted in wild cheers. Then a pair of engineers broke out with an intricate handshake that set the internet on fire.
The engineers – ID'd only as Brooke and Gene in a tweet from NASA – Run through an energetic series of hand slaps, followed by air punches, forearm bashes, shimmy shakes, fist pumps and finally a hearty high-five.
The inspiration for this Pro Bowl-worthy handshake came from a NFL game back in September between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. In the game, 49s wide receiver Marquise Goodwin did the handshake with teammate Kendrick Bourne after scoring a third-quarter TD. (And for good reason, Goodwin was wide open.)

"We knew we were sitting together in the control room, and we thought it would be kind of fun just for the two of us," said Brooke, a Chiefs fan. "We saw something we liked from a previous game, and we kind of mimicked it."

Gene, a New England Patriots, said it was just made sense because the two are always ribbing each other about football and "touchdown celebrations are back" in vogue in the NFL.

They started planning the handshake about six weeks ago, studying video of Goodwin's and Bourne's moves and practicing them.

"It's a great touchdown dance," Brooke said.

When they are not perfecting the art of NFL handshakes, Brooke and Gene are entry, descent and landing (EDL) systems engineers. EDL engineers are responsible for getting spacecraft from the top of the atmosphere of a planet to the surface safely.

That was not easy featuring InSight's landing. In less time than it takes to hard-boil an egg, the lander had to slow down from a speed of 12,300 mph to just 5 mph before gently touching down the surface of Mars. No wonder they call it the "seven minutes of terror."

As for their current world-famous handshake, they're happy with it but are not convinced it's ready for the pros just yet.

"(Goodwin) did it better than we did," Gene said.

The good folks of the internet may disagree.

CNN's Ashley Strickland contributed to this report.

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