The InSight mission livestream showed a jar of peanuts with what appears to be the MarCO logo.

enter image description here

Why is was this a significant shot in the livestream? Is there history behind this?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! They did briefly explain the peanut tradition during the coverage, but I'm sure there are plenty of people here that can give a very detailed explanation! $\endgroup$
    – Jack
    Nov 26 '18 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ I could swear someone here (Mark Adler?) already posted about this recently, but I can't find it. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Nov 26 '18 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 Understood. I have used all my upvotes for today so I will give you one tomorrow. I will take a look at the incoming responses as well. Thank you for your insight. $\endgroup$ Nov 26 '18 at 20:53

It turns out this goes way back to the 1960s. Landing on a celestial body isn't easy; JPL had suffered a series of failures during the Ranger missions, some during launch and others further on in each mission. For Ranger 7, someone on the team (credit has been given to both Dick Wallace and Harrison Schurmeier) passed out peanuts to calm people's nerves . . . and the landing was successful. Since then, it's become a tradition at JPL.

I've confirmed that peanuts have been consumed on the following missions (this is only a partial list, in all likelihood):

  • Ranger 7, Ranger 8 and Ranger 9[1]
  • Cassini[1]
  • InSight
  • Curiosity[2]
  • India's Mars Orbiter Mission[3]
  • Mariner[4]
  • Viking[5]
  • Pathfinder (possibly)[5]
  • Spirit[6]

. . . and likely many more.

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    $\begingroup$ Can this be considered superstitious? $\endgroup$ Nov 27 '18 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it can. So? $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Nov 28 '18 at 2:38

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