Inside NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Photos)

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Tour
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has overseen the design, construction and operation of many NASA space missions. I recently took a tour of the facility, which is nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains in Pasadena, California. (Image credit: Nola Taylor Redd)

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Buildings

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Originally a place where students could work with rockets, JPL has now grown to a sprawling expanse of buildings.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Tour First Stop

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This was our first stop on the tour.

NASA's JPL Spacecraft Assembly Facility

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The spacecraft assembly building includes an enormous clean room (hence the workers wearing white clean-room suits) that hosts multiple projects.

Spacecraft Assembly Facility View

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Here, we see another view of the spacecraft assembly room.

Mars 2020 Heat Shield

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The heat shield for Mars 2020 was one of the projects in the spacecraft assembly room.

Mars 2020 Flight Hardware

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Next to the heat shield sits more flight hardware.

Mars 2020 Flight Hardware Warning Signs

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The hardware is covered in signs warning people to avoid the flight hardware.

Ken Farley, Mars 2020 Project Scientist

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Ken Farley, a project scientist for Mars 2020, talks about the mission.

In the Earth Science Center

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My intern/daughter, Dawn, poses with the giant globe in the Earth Science Center.

Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab

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Our last official stop on the tour was the Space Flight Operations Facility.

"Lucky Peanuts" at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab

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We got to see the famous "lucky peanuts!"

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Nola Taylor Tillman
Contributing Writer

Nola Taylor Tillman is a contributing writer for She loves all things space and astronomy-related, and enjoys the opportunity to learn more. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Astrophysics from Agnes Scott college and served as an intern at Sky & Telescope magazine. In her free time, she homeschools her four children. Follow her on Twitter at @NolaTRedd