Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Open House

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena had a free Open House this weekend. Why should you care? Only because it's the two days of the whole year to really see what's happening in the world of robotic spacecraft. How do you pass that up?!

JPL is "dedicated to the scientific exploration of space and Earth with robotic spacecraft," and a "leading research and development center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)," per the program brochure. On any other day, you'd hardly get past the guard house, and you'd never have the access to the manufacturing and assembling facilities like for Open House. Attendees got to see the "clean room" where the next Mars Rover named Curiousity is being put together. It was fun to talk to JPL staffers taking advantage of the opportunity to find out what was going on outside their departments. Even employees don't get to go behind the scenes, it seems.

In the picture, I'm peering through the locked door into the Mission Control room, where the staff is communicating with satellites zipping around our solar system. Security would have escorted me out long before I got to this point under normal circumstances. Then there's the new Visitor Center (must be for the men in black as it isn't open to the public) with the actual camera from the Hubble Space Telescope, plus models of the Mars Rovers that hit the headlines in 2004 in their search for water.

I'm definitely going back next year for another dose of rocket science. Want to blast out there with me?!

Click here to go to JPL's Web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment