Cassini spacecraft carved into pumpkin.

Cassini's final pumpkin carving contest.

The Last Great Pumpkin

Feature | October 30, 2016

Halloween has always been a special time for Cassini. The mission's unofficial color is orange (very much like Titan's atmosphere). Each year various mission teams compete for bragging rights - and a little trophy - with a pumpkin carving contest.

With Cassini mission measuring time in months, Halloween 2016 is our last traditional pumpkin carving contest. So it's not surprising some of the entries featured good-natured gallows humor. 

Here's a rundown of the final contest. Scroll down to find out who came out on top:

Honorable Mention: Public Engagement Team

Public Engagement Pumpkins
Sixty-two knitted pumpkins - one for each moon of Saturn - made this entry stand out.

3rd Place - Tie - Instrument Operations and Navigation Teams

Instrument Operations Team
The Instrument Operations team entry focused on Cassini's spectacular orbit insertion burn in 2004.
Navigation Team Pumpkin
The navigators who plotted Cassini's final plunge into Saturn next September recreated the plunge with an interactive pumpkin - featuring a catapult to send virtual Cassini's into Saturn.

Second Place - Spacecraft Operations

Spacecraft Operations Pumpkin
A little gallows humor. Cassini, on the edge of her grave, in the Great Galactic Ghoul graveyard, resting place of missions past.

Winner - Science Planning and Sequencing Team

Science Planning and Instruments Team Pumpkin
The science planning folks went all out with an elaborate funeral procession for Cassini, featuring current missions, and a two-tiered graveyard for missions of the past.
Cassini Funeral Pumpkin
Barbecue ash, an angelic Cassini and Cassini Program Manager Earl Maize delivering a eulogy were all part of the winning entry.
Robot mourner
A detail shot of a robot mourner in the Cassini funeral procession.

Related:

Cassini's Halloween Homepage Art