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Live Cam: Building the Next Mars Rover

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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.

Mars Boarding Pass generated when you submit your name to be sent with the Mars mission | NASA
Mars Boarding Pass generated when you submit your name to be sent with the Mars mission | NASA

Click through to get a peek inside the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: 

 On June 13, 2019, engineers at JPL install the starboard legs and wheels — otherwise known as the mobility suspension — on the Mars 2020 rover | NASA/JPL-Caltech
On June 13, 2019, engineers at JPL install the starboard legs and wheels — otherwise known as the mobility suspension — on the Mars 2020 rover | NASA/JPL-Caltech
Members of NASA's Mars 2020 project take a moment after attaching the remote sensing mast to the Mars 2020 rover. | NASA/JPL-Caltech
Members of NASA's Mars 2020 project take a moment after attaching the remote sensing mast to the Mars 2020 rover. | NASA/JPL-Caltech
This artist's concept depicts possible astronauts and human habitats on Mars. | NASA
This artist's concept depicts possible astronauts and human habitats on Mars. | NASA
A prototype Mars Helicopter | NASA/JPL-Caltech
A prototype Mars Helicopter | NASA/JPL-Caltech
October 1996, Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers are closing up the metal "petals" of the Mars Pathfinder lander. The Sojourner small rover is visible on one of the three petals. | NASA/Flickr
October 1996, Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers are closing up the metal "petals" of the Mars Pathfinder lander. The Sojourner small rover is visible on one of the three petals. | NASA/Flickr
Artist depiction of Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity | NASA
Artist depiction of Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity | NASA
Close-up of a slice of a meteorite scientists have determined came from Mars. | NASA/JPL-Caltech
Close-up of a slice of a meteorite scientists have determined came from Mars. | NASA/JPL-Caltech

Sources

Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Reaching for the Stars since 1936. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Mars 2020. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Top Image: This is the first contiguous, uniform 360-degree color panorama taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) over the course of sols 8, 9, and 10 (Martian days) | NASA/Flickr 

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