JPL Open House – Part 1

by Meg on May 18, 2010

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the open house at JPL (part of CalTech and NASA). In so many words, I got to see a lot of stuff that goes into space and the stuff that makes those things go into space.

I am beyond excited about all of the things I saw and so I am going to split this up into two posts!

My first stop was at Mission Control.  You know, MISSION CONTROL.  Okay, actually it was Deep Space Operations.  They communicate with satellites and other vehicles that have been launched into space.  Neat fact: While this makes total sense, they need to keep old equipment around to talk to the old technology that launched years ago.

JPL - Deep Space Operations

They listen to space here.

A bunch of the rovers were on display as a big focus of JPL is robotics.

This little guy is to scale!

A lil guy

These little kids are to scale and had to say, “Rover, rover, come on over!”

I think this is an excellent use of children. I shall sign up my future babies.

Before entering the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, you watched a cool video that demoed the series of parts it takes to land a Mars rover safe and sound.  Then you got to walk in and see it in the largest “clean room” on campus.

You do not mess around here.

Next Mars Rover +Parts

These parts fit together to launch to then come apart to land the rover on Mars.

The Spacecraft Fabrication Facility was certainly the largest shop I had ever been in – but they had some great “spare” parts on display and crazy vending machines.

"Spare" parts

These parts were often times super light for how heavy they looked and VERY complex.

Parts vending machine

Fresh out of skittles.

P.S. Safety first!! (Hello awesome safety sign!)

Safety Glasses Sign

These glasses can propel pointy arrow'd lines like THAT. *snap*

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