By JOSH NUESCA
The buzz was alive in Pasadena on October 11 as close to 20,000 people descended on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the yearly Open House event. Redlands East Valley’s Engineering Club comprised of just a few interested individuals who ventured out to a sweltering Pasadena to listen to some of the world’s most renowned scientists and engineers behind humanity’s greatest feats.
Although lines up to two hours for the most popular exhibits were common, the opportunity to interact and look behind-the-scenes of the organization that propels our country into space was no doubt worth it for many. Due to the influx of space-themed movies including the critically-acclaimed The Martian, and the recent announcement of flowing water being found on Mars, JPL recorded thousands of attendees over their expectations and reached event capacity four hours after opening.
One of the main highlights of the event was Space Flight Operations which is appropriately known as the “Center of the Universe” as it is the main communications hub for the Deep Space Network that connects space-faring probes and satellites to manned controllers on Earth. Other attractions included the Spacecraft Assembly Building where JPL engineers construct space bound craft in the world’s largest cleanroom, a Mars Exploration exhibit with life-size replicas of rovers currently on Mars, and a variety of films detailing some of NASA’s accomplishments.
Omar Mujanovic, a senior at Redlands East Valley says about the event, “It was really inspiring! I was already pretty interested in space, but going to JPL really opened my eyes to its beauty and made me even want to work for NASA someday.”
It is evident by the number of attendees that public interest in space is not fading, but instead expanding as our technology allows us to venture further into the unknowns of space. For additional information regarding future Open House events, visit jpl.nasa.gov.
Engineering Club meets every Tuesday at lunch in Room E-101.