The work that goes on at the NASA/CalTech Jet Propulsion Laboratory isn’t just cool. It’s incredibly cool.
Here, some of the brightest brains on the planet work to create the technology that puts humans into space, as they have done for decades. Originally founded in the 1930′s, JPL is now at the forefront of deep space exploration, and is involved with designing research craft for space, designing observational satellites for Earch and managing the enormous Deep Space Network of antenna stations, which tracks and controls space craft in deep space.
Most notably in JPL’s history is the construction of the Voyager Explorers, enabling scientists to get the first pictures of faraway planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. Rather unbelievably and as a testament to this site (considering they were built and launched in the 1970s), both Voyager 1 and 2 are still out there exploring, at the far edge, returning data to Earth about the boundaries of our solar system.
At the regular tours and open days held at JPL, visitors can see exactly what went into building Voyager, as well as learning about some of the other neat stuff that goes on inside the building.
Next year, for instance, the JPL will launch four new missions, the Earth-orbiting Aquarius, Jupiter-bound Juno, GRAIL to Earth’s moon and our next flagship rover mission, Mars Science Laboratory — and scientists and engineers are on hand to answer questions about all of them.
Don’t miss the chance to attend a lecture as part of the von Kármán Lecture Series, which boasts a fascinating lineup of speakers on the space program’s missions, instruments and other technologies.
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory|
|Address:4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109|
|Admission Price: Tours are free
|Opening Times: Regularly-scheduled tours every week, must be booked in advance, see website for further details