One giant leap for a pastry chef? We've seen a lot of cool gingerbread houses around town, but nothing tops the gingerbread Mars Curiosity rover that the nerdy minds at Caltech have come up with. Crafted by Kevin Isacsson, head chef of the Athaneum, the Pasadena university's private dining club, the rover features pinwheel cookie wheels connected with black licorice, sugared Lego "gears" and gumdrop and M&M "buttons."
In a nod to the multi-million-dollar expense of the original craft, the top is scattered with chocolate gold coins. A shades-wearing Santa sits aloft amid candy canes and lollipops. Hanging out on the Martian surface, which is made up of real rocks and rock crystal sugar dusted with cinnamon and brown sugar, are Yoda, Darth Vader, Buzz Lightyear and a three-eyed red Martian.
Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which built the rover that is currently exploring the Red Planet. JPL lent Isacsson a model of Curiosity to help him craft the cake version, which took about 10 days. Isacsson has created a gingerbread structure each holiday season for the last eight years he's been at Caltech, but this was his first "scientific" mission.