NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will open its doors to the public during its annual Open House on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
This popular, free event celebrates JPL's "Past, Present and Future" with exhibits and demonstrations about the Laboratory's ongoing research and space exploration missions.
Many of the Lab's scientists and engineers will be on hand to answer questions about how spacecraft are sent to other planets, how scientists utilize space technologies to explore Earth and how researchers have begun searching for planets beyond the solar system. Visitors will see exhibits, displays, demonstrations and presentations covering such topics as planetary imaging, space robotics, spacecraft communications and tracking.
Visitors will be able to see two Earth-observing instruments currently in development in JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility, looking in on the progress of the Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat), set for launch in November, which will study winds over the oceans, and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mapper (SRTM) that will ride on the Space Shuttle and collect three-dimensional images of the Earth in 1999.
Close-up images of El Nino will be on display at the Earth Sciences booth, as scientists and engineers display the different ways JPL has tracked this weather-altering phenomenon with satellites.
The Mars Yard -- a replica of the Martian landscape, will feature two full-scale models of Sojourner, the little rover that landed on Mars on July 4, 1997 aboard the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft.
Also on display will be a full-scale model of Galileo, currently in orbit around Jupiter, along with a colorful exhibit of stunning images of Jupiter's moon, Europa, which is thought to have a water ocean beneath its icy surface. A full-scale model of the three-story-tall Cassini spacecraft, launched to Saturn in October 1997, can be viewed in JPL's spacecraft assembly facility.
Engineers who use NASA'S Deep Space Network to communicate with spacecraft will be on hand to explain spacecraft telecommunications. The Space Flight Operations Facility viewing gallery, where spacecraft communications take place, will also be open to visitors.
Other featured projects will include JPL's Origins program, which is aimed at developing new technologies to detect other solar systems; JPL's Center for Space Microelectronics Technology, which develops miniaturized instruments and sensors for future space flight; and the New Millennium program, which is developing revolutionary high-tech instruments for space flight in the 21st century.
Food and beverages will be available, along with space souvenirs and NASA and JPL merchandise.
JPL is located at 4800 Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena, off the 210 (Foothill) Freeway at the Berkshire Avenue/Oak Grove Drive exit. For further information, visit the JPL Open House web site at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/openhouse . or call (818) 354-0112.
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