Relive the excitement of man’s first steps on the moon and the long journey it took to get there with 20 new hours of out of this world programming on KCET's “Summer of Space" Watch out for “American Experience: Chasing the Moon” and a KCET-exclusive first look at "Blue Sky Metropolis," four one-hour episodes that examine Southern California’s role in the history of aviation and aerospace.
Ever since the mid-1930s, when Caltech students and amateur rocketeers banded together, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been part of Southern California's aerospace landscape. Formed even before NASA became a reality, this laboratory has been home base for some of the world's most awe-inspiring feats of engineering. The laboratory's first efforts began with more military projects such as building experimental missiles for the U.S. Army to developing a guided ballistic missile, but its efforts eventually turned to more exploratory missions to the relief of the scientists, engineers and technicians working there. JPL is responsible for ambitious space missions such as Mariner 4 (the first spacecraft to take close-up photos of another planet), Cassini (which detects a hint of an ocean on Saturn's moon Enceladus) and of course Curiosity (whose rover riveted the nation with its mission to the Red Planet).
Now, as part of NASA's long-term efforts to explore Mars, JPL is building the next Mars rover in an effort to answer if Mars ever supported life and what human explorers might need to survive on this planet. In an effort to share the science and effort that goes on into the exploration of another planet, JPL has installed a webcam offering a live feed (without audio) of their clean room where white-suited figures hustle and bustle daily, building the next Mars Rover.
Watch the building of next Mars Rover here:
The laboratory also offers live webchats with JPL's social media team Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m Pacific time. If you'd like to your name to go interplanetary, fill out the form on this link and have your name sent to space.
Click through to get a peek inside the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: