PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) puts on an annual open house that’s like a Renaissance Fair for futurists, only free. It’s one of the most-talked-about events in the Altadena/Pasadena area.
The 2011 event, themed “The Excitement of Explorations,” takes place on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. Visitors will share in the wonders of space through high-definition and 3-D videos, live demonstrations, interactions with scientists and engineers, and a first look at JPL’s new Earth Science Center.
For those who think JPL is all about space, the Earth Science Center showcases our home planet and JPL’s Earth science missions. Visitors pass by two touchscreens located on opposite walls of the facility that control real-time views of “Eyes on the Earth,” an interactive 3-D visualization website and have the opportunity to watch a movie in the 3-D theater.
Other Open House highlights include:
- A chance to see Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity, the next rover bound for Mars, in the clean room before it is shipped to Florida for a November 2011 launch. Curiosity also stars in its own “reality TV show” via live-streaming webcam: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl .
- Life-size rover models in a Mars test bed.
- The Robo-Dome, where a pair of 700-pound robots glide in a high-tech arena under artificial stars. The Robo-Dome is used to simulate complex maneuvers that could be used for future space missions.
- The Microdevices Lab, where engineers and scientists use tiny technology to revolutionize space exploration.
- Solar-safe telescopes that allow visitors to see the sun.
Selected locations at the open house will be featured live online, with a live chat available, on Ustream TV at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 on May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Parking is also free, but is limited. Visitors will have to do a lot of walking and some of the terrain is steep, so they should wear comfortable shoes. JPL will provide vans for mobility-challenged guests.
Vehicles entering NASA/JPL property are subject to inspection. Visitors cannot bring these items to NASA/JPL: weapons, explosives, incendiary devices, dangerous instruments, alcohol, illegal drugs, pets, all types of skates including skateboards, Segways and bicycles. No bags, backpacks or ice chests are allowed, except small purses and diaper bags.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Open House (free)
Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA
Parking is free, but limited
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