NASA Scientists Have Revealed The Inspiration Behind Their Viral Handshake

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory celebrated the successful landing of the InSight mission robotic lander on Mars on Monday, after seven months of traveling in space. The momentous occasion — which was the eighth time in history humans have landed on the Red Planet — was captured by cameras at the Pasadena, California headquarters, as scientists and engineers erupted into cheers the moment the InSight made contact.

One celebration, in particular, caught the attention of the internet when two engineers were seen breaking out a wild handshake in the midst of the brouhaha. Now identified only as Brooke and Gene, the pair went viral for the move, which consisted of hand slaps, air punches, forearm bashes, shimmies, fist pumps, and finally, culminating in a high-five.

“The high five is the iconic part in the mission control room, which everyone is concerned with nailing the high five,” Brooke later explained in a video posted to Twitter.

The inspiration for the handshake, however, actually came from an NFL game back in September. In a face-off between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin performed the handshake with teammate Kendrick Bourne after scoring a touchdown in the third-quarter:

“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 that we liked from a previous game, and we kind of mimicked it.”

Gene, a New England Patriots fan, said it 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.

You can see the original moment captured, below:

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