The tension was palpable in the control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the minutes leading up to the August 5 landing of the Mars rover Curiosity. Rows of headset-clad flight controllers in matching pale blue polo shirts huddled over their computers, awaiting the rover descent's 'seven minutes of terror.'
Then, seemingly from nowhere, bottles of peanuts started to appear, and soon all the engineers and scientists were munching on handfuls of the proteinaceous snack. It's just one of a slew of superstitious NASA traditions, and the Russian space program has its own share. Here are some of the timeless traditions of the world's space-exploring elite.