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June 11th, 2012

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03:32 pm
It came to my attention, late last week, that this previous weekend was the Open House at Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a NASA facility in the hills north of Pasadena. It's an annual event, but much of the time when it occurs, I've been on call, and couldn't attend. Often, friends have, and I've been a bit jealous. So, in this case, I checked with my wife, found out that on Sunday we had no plans, for a change, and asked her opinion. She was vehement about wanting to go; that opportunity pleased us both.

Sunday. The Open House starts at 0900; we were waiting at the offramp by 0930, dead stop. At that moment, a CHP vehicle drives by urging motorists en route to JPL to get off at the following exit and backtrack, and we do so, saving probably forty minutes of sitting on the freeway. We pull into the parking lot, way up the hill, and march down.

It's crowded. It makes me think that if the politicians who allocate funding to the Space Program could see this support, that they might not be so vicious with their paring knives on the NASA budget. Or maybe not; corporations may not make enough profit from this?

Anyway, enough sour grapes.

We wandered the facility campus, and were in and out of lines to view displays about the probe missions; saw films about active missions, and planned ones. We saw the satellite communications control room, and I recognized a control room used by the Mars Rover team. We saw mock-ups of the new Rover presently on its way to Mars, with landing expected in about two months. We saw the test bay where they worked up the robotics.

Even had we been there when this opened, and stayed until closing, we still wouldn't have had time to see everything that they were showcasing. Always leave them wanting more!

So, of course, we had equines to feed, and we returned home. Later, we had a quick meal at Pollo Loco; solid, and healthy.

In the evening, I streamed The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the third Swedish film based on that deceased author's works (can't recall his name, but the books were bestsellers). I guess we'll try the US version of the first book's movie in the near future. I've liked the Swedish films very much...

I'll be on call all week, no rest for the weary.

(4 comments | Speak, or forever hold your peace)


Date:June 11th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
You have my absolute envy over your ability to visit one of these open houses. Despite the cuts underway and proposed, it still feels like more and greater levels of excitement are underway in the space exploration field.
[User Picture]
Date:June 11th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
As the web publishes more of the photos taken by the scientific packages up there in orbit, I get more and more astonished.

[User Picture]
Date:June 11th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
I have a friend who works at JPL, and with the Mars rover team. Someday when the toddler is older and more of a morning person, I plan to take her to one of the open houses.
[User Picture]
Date:June 12th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
And she'll love you forever for it!
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco...

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