Once again, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will open its doors to the public during its annual open house, a free event scheduled for Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.
Visitors will be treated to exhibits, demonstrations and presentations about past and future space missions, while a host of hand-on activities will be offered to children. Many of the Laboratory's scientists and engineers will be on hand to answer questions on topics such as planetary imaging, space robotics and communication with distant spacecraft.
"We're proud of what we do for the American public and the scientific community, and the JPL open house is a great opportunity to showcase our accomplishments, challenges and discoveries," said JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone. "In the past few months, we've sent space missions to Mars, one to a comet and another one into space to test out new technologies for the future. This is an exciting time for space exploration and we look forward to sharing our work with visitors at the open house."
Always a popular event, the 1998 open house edition drew about 52,000 people in two days to the 177-acre facility. This year the Laboratory is renting 12 theme park-style trams, each capable of boarding 70 people.
Children visiting the Laboratory will have the opportunity to see themselves fly in space, learn about "black holes" -- the densest objects in the universe -- and design their own planet and their own "sciencecraft." The Telescopes in Education Project will teach students and educators how to operate an automated research-quality telescope and advanced camera system from a computer in their classroom.
A replica of the Sojourner rover that landed on Mars in 1997 and prototypes of rovers under development at the Laboratory will cruise the new Mars Yard, recently remodeled to better imitate the Martian landscape. Also on site will be full-scale models of the spacecraft currently circling or on their way to the red planet, including the Mars Polar Lander, scheduled to reach the Martian South Pole on December 3, 1999.
Other highlights include:
- The Low Temperature Laboratory and the 25-foot Space Simulator, the places where spacecraft are thoroughly tested in the extreme conditions they will find in outer space.
- The Space Flight Operations Facility, the electronic mailroom that collects and routes all communications between spacecraft and the JPL-operated Deep Space Network, made up of antenna stations in Spain, Australia and California's Mojave Desert.
- The Spacecraft Fabrication Facility, where technical drawings are turned into components. Inside this building, visitors will see the Bengal Waterjet Machine in action, a device capable of cutting steel with water.
- The Spacecraft Assembly Facility, the Laboratory's largest clean room where spacecraft are built, including Galileo, now orbiting Jupiter and its moons, and Cassini, which is on its way to Saturn.
Food and beverages will be available, along with space souvenirs and NASA and JPL merchandise. JPL's Stamp Club and Flying Club will staff booths for collectors and aviation fans. Potential employees will be able to submit their resumes and take home a list of openings at the Laboratory.
JPL is at 4800 Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena, off the 210 (Foothill) Freeway at the Berkshire Avenue/Oak Grove Drive exit. A larger parking lot is located on the East side of the Laboratory, accessible from Windsor Avenue from the Arroyo Boulevard exit off the 210 Freeway. Trams will run non-stop between all lots and the Laboratory's main gate.
For further information, visit the JPL Open House web site at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/openhouse, or call (818) 354-0112.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
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