Where We Are Going

The years ahead promise to be an exceptionally productive – and challenging – time for JPL. A host of planetary exploration, Earth science, space-based astronomy and technology missions offer us opportunities to pursue some of our most challenging scientific and technical quests.

At the broadest level, our strategic direction emerges from consensus between NASA and the scientific community on the most pressing questions calling out for study. These are greatly shaped by the decadal surveys within Earth and space science disciplines commissioned each 10 years by the National Academy of Sciences. At JPL, our role is to work with NASA to define and carry out the missions and research initiatives that can help answer those broad scientific questions. To be ready, it is crucial that we maintain our highly imaginative yet rigorous culture, as well as the excellence of our skill sets, that have made JPL so successful in its missions to date. In all our efforts, we are enriched intellectually by our essential connection to Caltech.

JPL 2025 looks at the years to come through several lenses. First, we consider the Quests, the profound questions we strive to answer. Next, we examine JPL’s Culture, the values, beliefs and characters that make the Lab the unique organization that it is. And finally, we look to Thrusts, specific initiatives designed to support and enrich our culture, and enable us to reach the quests.

Dr. Jakob J. van Zyl
Associate Director: Project Formulation and Strategy
2011-2016