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[i]There is a tradition at JPL to eat "good luck peanuts" before critical mission events, such as orbital insertions or landings. As the story goes, after the Ranger program had experienced failure after failure during the 1960s, the first succesful mission of the Ranger program landed on the Moon while a JPL staffer was munching on peanuts. The staff jokingly decided that the peanuts must have been a good luck charm and the tradition persists today.[/i] -- Wikipedia
[i]With nerves likely to run high as the time for landing gets closer and closer, Goldstein will be using a long-time JPL nerve-killing tradition: passing out peanuts to the mission control crew.
The practice has apparently been in place since the Ranger missions to the moon. After the first few failed, those in mission control began to pop peanuts in an attempt to calm their nerves.
Phoenix will uphold this grand tradition, Goldstein said, adding, "I've already purchased the peanuts."[/i]
[i]The peanuts are a Jet Propulsion Lab tradition, but unlike at the last Mars landing, these peanuts will still be in their shells. "I think we need to go through the process" of opening up the peanuts to calm edgy nerves, he told New Scientist.
In addition to the peanuts, lucky blueberries will also make an appearance - a nod to the Opportunity rover, which found iron-rich spherules, nicknamed blueberries, soon after it became the last spacecraft to successfully touch down on Mars.[/i]
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