The 49ers inspired NASA engineers' celebratory Mars landing handshake

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NASA engineers Gene and Brooke celebrated the InSight lander touching down on Mars with an elaborate NFL-inspired handshake. (Twitter/@NASAJPL)
NASA engineers Gene and Brooke celebrated the InSight lander touching down on Mars with an elaborate NFL-inspired handshake. (Twitter/@NASAJPL)

It’s not often that NASA engineers get to celebrate like football players in the end zone, but Monday was one of those times. NASA’s InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, and it will spend months studying the crust, mantle, and core of the red planet.

The lander is the result of years of research, planning, building and testing, so when it parked itself on Mars, the entire control room burst into wild cheers and celebration. Amidst the hugs and fist pumps, two engineers celebrated their science touchdown with a handshake ripped directly from a San Francisco 49ers game. You can see it at 1:18 in the Twitter video below.

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Helping to launch and land a small unmanned craft on a different planet is incredibly impressive, but so is that handshake routine. According to CNN, those slapping and snapping engineers are Brooke and Gene, and they worked on their handshake for six weeks. They’re both football fans: Brooke roots for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Gene roots for the New England Patriots.

In a NASA video, Brooke said that they saw 49ers teammates Marquise Goodwin and Kendrick Bourne do that elaborate celebration after Goodwin scored a touchdown against the Chiefs in September. They knew that they would be sitting next to each other during the landing, and thought it would be fun for them to break out the routine when the lander touched down.

The routine itself is from the popular mobile game Fortnite. Here’s what the original looked like when Goodwin and Bourne did it back in September.


Goodwin saw Brooke and Gene do their celebration, and he absolutely loved it.


When humans eventually land on Mars, the Marquise Goodwin touchdown handshake is the first thing the astronauts should do when they step onto the surface of the planet.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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