After the successful landing of the InSight landing on Monday on the surface of Mars, control of the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, erupted in applause. Then, a couple of engineers exploded with an intricate handshake that set the Internet on fire.
The engineers – they just identified as Brooke and Gene in a tweet from NASA
– ran through an energetic series of manual slaps, followed by air blows, forearm blows, jerking, fist pumps and, finally, a high five.
The inspiration for this Pro Bowl handshake came from an NFL game in September between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. In the game, 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin shook hands with teammate Kendrick Bourne after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter. (And for good reason, Goodwin was wide open.)
"We knew we were sitting together in the control room, and we thought it would be fun for just the two of us," said Brooke, a fan of the Chiefs. "We saw something we liked about a previous game and we imitated it."
Gene, a fan of the New England Patriots, said it made sense because the two are always discussing football and the "touchdown celebrations are back" in vogue in the NFL.
They began to plan the handshake about six weeks ago, studying the video of Goodwin and Bourne's movements and practicing them.
"It's a great touchdown dance," said Brooke.
When they're not perfecting the art of NFL handshakes, Brooke and Gene are entry, descent and landing systems (EDL) engineers. EDL engineers are responsible for taking the spacecraft from the top of the planet's atmosphere to the surface safely.
That was not an easy feat with the InSight landing. In less time than it takes to boil an egg, the landing vehicle had to slow down from 12,300 mph to only 5 mph before gently touching the surface of Mars. No wonder they call it the "seven minutes of terror."
As for his now famous handshake, they are happy with him, but they are not yet convinced that he is ready for professionals.
"(Goodwin) did it better than us," said Gene.
The good people of the internet can disagree.
Ashley Strickland of CNN contributed to this report.