Rockets & Robots in Space: Visiting the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CaliforniaJet Propulsion Lab is located in Pasadena, California. If you’re into robots in space or rockets, you really should check this out. They have free day tours for the extremely organized traveler visiting Los Angeles. The popularity of this infrequent tour means tours have to be scheduled well in advance and it is no easy feat. For example, I scheduled our March 2016 visit in October 2015 after checking the website for about 2-3 weeks for any available opening.

Our tour started with a great overview of the history of the JPL. Listened to this next to a full-scale model of Voyager and a half scale model of Cassini. We were informed that throughout the tour we’d see models and spare backups.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (left) Voyager (right).

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (left) Voyager (right).

Explorer 1 flight spare

Explorer 1 flight spare

Spirit and Opportunity model (left) and Sojourner (right)

Spirit and Opportunity model (left) and Sojourner (right)

Museum atJet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Museum at JPL shows replica models of each robot at its planet.

Museum at JPL shows replica models of each robot at its planet.

Museum at JPL shows replica models of each robot at its planet.

Full size model of Curiosity who is roaming Mars.

Throughout the facility there are displays monitoring the Deep Space Network.

Throughout the facility there are displays monitoring the Deep Space Network.

Curiosity, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Full size model of Curiosity who is roaming Mars.

JPL Mission Control Center

JPL Mission Control Center

Clean room where spacecraft is built to minimize any Earth contamination. Notice the mannequin in the center of the room to get an idea of the size of this room.

Clean room where spacecraft is built to minimize any Earth contamination. Notice the mannequin in the center of the room to get an idea of the size of this room.

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