model of Mars Science Laboratory

infrared camera

axel rover

More than 30,000 people visited JPL for the annual Open House the weekend of May 2 and 3. Highlights included:

• A driving demonstration of the Mars Science Laboratory -- JPL's next spacecraft bound for Mars

• Seeing JPL's biggest "clean room," where spacecraft are built

• Peering through solar-safe telescopes to observe the sun

• Seeing a demonstration of an Axel rover climbing up and down a steep, rocky wall

• Talking to scientists and engineers on missions to study Saturn, Jupiter, Earth and its moon

• Seeing spectrometers that analyze visitors' own "personal frequencies"

• Visiting JPL's Microdevices Lab, where engineers and scientists work in the world of the ultra-miniature

At Open House, JPL also celebrated the International Year of Astronomy, a United Nations-endorsed series of events that commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first telescope observations of space by Italian scientist Galileo Galilei. The JPL event also saluted the 40th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 mission – the first human landing on the moon.

Open House Streamed Live on Web

JPL also used such Web social-media tools as and Twitter to reach folks unable to attend Open House in person. JPL streamed portions of the event -- now archived -- on Ustream TV at: . The live video webcasts, airing from JPL's mission control, spacecraft assembly building, and other key locations, gave viewers the chance to ask questions of scientists and engineers via an accompanying chat room.

JPL enthusiasts also received up-to-the-minute information about the event's various exhibits and demonstrations via Twitter, a micro-blogging tool, by following @NASAJPL at .

The public can also keep track of JPL news and activities on Facebook at .

More information about Open House is at: . JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.