Catch highlights of last year's Open House and mark your calendars for this year's event, on May 2 and 3, 2009.

Transcript:

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Mars

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Mars - the Red Planet - is one of our closest neighbors in the solar system and the planet with the most similar characteristics to Earth.

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JPL currently has two operating orbiters around Mars.

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Rich Zurek, JPL's Chief Scientist for Mars Exploration These pictures are taken from different perspectives.

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Here is what you do is you find the places to go put our rovers, this information helps you plan where to go and what to look at.

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Two rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) continue to collect data from the surface of Mars.

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Jaret Matthews, JPL Robotics Engineer All of these rovers are examples of prototypes that we use to develop software before we go on

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and build the real system, so we can work out a lot of the mechanical problems, the software problems.

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Ashley Stroupe, JPL Engineering, Mars Rover Planning This little rover can drive around on cliffs up to about 85 degrees,

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that's nearly vertical without worrying about falling.

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In May 2008, after 422 million miles and 8 months of travel, Phoenix landed on the surface of Mars.

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Nagin Cox, JPL Systems Engineer Phoenix mission is to find out whether

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or not there is any environment for habitability or any organics in the water ice layer on Mars.

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Chris Swan, JPL Phoenix Operations Engineer We have a stereo camera and we use that stereo camera just like you use your eyes to get distance,

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and we can actually create this sort of 3D model of the Martian ground and surface with two pictures.

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In 2009, JPL plans to launch Mars Science Laboratory, a large and unique rover that will be able to explore far more territory than its predecessors.

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Jennifer Dooley, JPL Systems Engineer The instrument that I work on is called CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy Instrument)

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and what we do is we receive from SoftSpa, which is a drill that's going to go out and drill into rocks,

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and give us some crushed sample. That crushed sample goes down into CheMin,

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and we have a collimated x-ray beam that we are going to shoot through the material,

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and out of that we are going to see ring patterns and those ring patterns are a characteristic of exactly what the material is.

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These exciting Mars projects have specific goals as well as a common pursuit...

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...to understand where and how life beyond Earth may have existed... ...or may still exist.

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

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