NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory invites the public to its annual NASA-JPL Open House, the one weekend a year when their missions are on display and visitors can explore the world-famous facility in Pasadena. Taking place 9 a.m - 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10-11, 2015, the Open House is free of charge and takes visitors on a “ride” through the wonders of space. Highlights include a life-size model of Mars Science Laboratory; demonstrations from numerous space missions; JPL’s machine shop, where robotic spacecraft parts are built; and the Microdevices Lab, where engineers and scientists use tiny technology to revolutionize space exploration.
Up to 20,000 people per day come to JPL during the Open House. Here are some suggestions to get the most out of your day.
- Be sure to arrive early and be patient, as there is only one entrance into JPL, including a possible security check of your vehicle. Also, please note where you park.
- Use your smartphone or tablet to try out JPL’s Open House web app to navigate the Lab. It provides real-time information on wait times at various sites, as well as directions to restrooms, food concessions, and other amenities.
- The longest lines are usually at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility — the cleanrooms where they build spacecraft — and the Space Flight Operations Facility, where they communicate with all of their missions. Keep this in mind if you want to include these sites in your visit.
- Five movies will be shown throughout the day. The lines at these screenings can be shorter than other lines, and the movies offer a way to get off your feet in a cool place for a half hour while learning more about JPL missions.
- Activities for young children are marked in the site listings. Do keep in mind that most experiences at JPL’s Open House are not intended for the very young.
- Need help? Look for JPLers in bright red JPL-Caltech shirts with name tags. Information booths are also located around the Lab, as shown on the map.
- Remember as you plan your visit that Open House ends at 4 p.m.
If you plan to attend, wear comfortable shoes and pack a water bottle. No bags, backpacks or ice chests are allowed, with the exception of small purses and diaper bags. Arrive early for best parking and to avoid long lines at some of the more popular exhibits. Admission and parking are free.
Vehicles entering NASA/JPL property are subject to inspection. Visitors cannot bring these items into 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. Drones are not allowed to fly over NASA/JPL under any circumstances.
Follow @NASAJPL on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #JPLOpen.