In early January I took a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and wrote about my experience. At the end of that post, I encouraged others to visit the Lab because the tour provides an excellent overview of a fascinating facility that plays a central role in our space program as the leading US center for the robotic exploration of our solar system. Now you have a great opportunity to delve even deeper into the Lab’s work by attending its annual Open House, which takes place in just a few days.
This highly anticipated event celebrates JPL’s accomplishments with exhibits and demonstrations about the Laboratory’s ongoing research and space exploration. Unlike the regular public tours such as the one I participated in, the Open House affords visitors the opportunity to meet many of the Lab’s scientists and engineers and speak with them about JPL’s past, present and future programs. So come ready with all those questions you’ve been pondering about the Mars Rovers, CloudSat satellite, and the Dawn spacecraft, just to name a few.
If your children are at all interested in space exploration and robotics (mine certainly are!), the Open House features special hands-on activities designed for kids. Given the popularity of this event, you may want to consider arriving early to avoid the crowds that are sure to grow throughout the day.
When: Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days
Where: 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 available near the Oak Grove main gate and the eastern boundary of JPL, accessible from Windsor Avenue via the Arroyo Boulevard exit off the 210 Freeway.
Cost: Admission and parking are free
Online: JPL web site
Notes: No bags, backpacks or ice chests are allowed, with the exception of small purses and diaper bags. Your entry on NASA/JPL property constitutes your agreement that you, your vehicles and your personal belongings are subject to inspection.