Mix and Mingle With the Rocket Scientists of JPL


One afternoon in 1936 CalTech grad student Alfred Malina recruited five friends to help out with some rocket experiments in the arroyo seco. The dry lakebed seemed like a safer place than the CalTech campus. These smart fellows would go on to form the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, America’s premiere spaceship factory. The space secrets are heavily guarded, but once a year the lab throws open its doors for a public open house. The free event starts Saturday at 9a.m. and includes tours of the clean rooms, space exhibits and Q&A’s with real live rocket scientists. Last year there was a chance for kids to lie on the ground and have the Mars rover drive over them. I wonder if the founders could have imagined such wonders 75 years ago? 

Photograph: NASA