Illustration of of Mars Odyssey

Once a year, thousands of people from around the country get a chance to go behind the scenes at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA's lead center for robotic space exploration.

JPL's annual open house, held on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and May 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will take visitors on an adventure with this year's theme, "JPL 2001: A Space Odyssey."

This free, fun-filled, family event has a little of everything for space enthusiasts, from virtual flying lessons to building your own spacecraft and having your picture taken in infrared light. For non-space buffs, it offers the chance to see inside a NASA center and discover more about some of the latest technological advancements. Everyone will have the chance to meet with scientists and engineers who will staff booths to answer questions about current and future missions.

Structured around the themes of technology, Earth, Mars, solar system, and stars and galaxies, visitors will see and learn more about how missions come together. See for the last time at JPL the full-size Galileo spacecraft model and learn about active volcanoes on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. Watch 15 student-built robots compete, or see an android head and robotic arm come to life. Learn about the devices scientists use to explore our planet, from the ground below to the outer reaches of Earth's atmosphere. Or follow the water to the Mars Yard -- a simulated Martian surface for test-driving robotic rovers destined for Mars.

JPL is located at 4800 Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena, off the 210 (Foothill) Freeway at the Berkshire Avenue/Oak Grove Drive exit. Parking is free and available near the Oak Grove main gate and on the eastern boundary of JPL, accessible from Windsor Avenue via the Arroyo Boulevard exit off the 210 Freeway. Trams will run non-stop between all lots and JPL's main gate. Air-conditioned buses with tour guides will move people to and from different locations around the facility.

More information, pictures, maps and directions are available at, or call (818) 354-0112.

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

News Media Contact

Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382
JPL Media Relations Office