Thursday, April 30, 2009

FREE L.A.: Tour the JPL This Weekend

Before you go to see "Star Trek" next weekend, go get your nerd on this weekend at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's annual open house.

Free event takes place this weekend, May 2 and 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here are the details:

WHAT: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., welcomes the public to its annual Open House on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The lab will salute the 40th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 mission - the first human landing on the moon. JPL will also celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, a United Nations-endorsed series of events around the world that commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first telescope observations of space and planets by Italian scientist Galileo Galilei.

Open House highlights include: seeing JPL's next spacecraft bound for Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory, in the lab's biggest "clean room;" talking to scientists and engineers who work on missions to destinations such as Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Earth's moon; and visiting JPL's Microdevices Lab, where engineers and scientists work in the world of the ultra-miniature. Visitors can also view the sun through solar-safe telescopes, and learn how NASA instruments measure greenhouse gases, helping scientists better understand global climate change.

Besides the many exhibits and displays, the Open House will feature hands-on activities for children. Visitors can find out how NASA missions are using new media tools such as Twitter at the "The Tweet Spot" booth. Portions of the event will also air live online on Ustream TV at on Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3. Admission and parking are free.

WHERE: 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, Calif. From the 210 Freeway, take the Berkshire Avenue/Oak Grove Drive exit. All visitors should wear comfortable shoes -- no buses will be provided from JPL parking lots.

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