In Photos: VP Mike Pence Tours Mars Yard & More at NASA's JPL

Commanding Scarecrow

Bill Ingalls/NASA

On April 28, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and their daughter Charlotte Pence visited NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. See photos from their Mars-themed trip here! In this image, the Second Lady directs a rover nicknamed "Scarecrow" at the Mars Yard. NASA Mars Exploration Manager Li Fuk, at the left, stands next to Mars Curiosity Engineering Operations Team Chief Megan Lin and JPL Director Michael Watkins, on the right, all watch as Scarecrow follows her commands.

A Quick Lesson

Bill Ingalls/NASA

JPL Director Michael Watkins offers Vice President Mike Pence directions for how to drive Scarecrow. The rover tests the mobility of Mars' rovers.

Taking His Turn

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Vice President Mike Pence commands the Scarecrow rover at the Mars Yard at NASA's JPL in Pasadena, California while some of his family and some JPL team members watch.

More to See

Bill Ingalls/NASA

While on a tour of NASA's JPL on Apr. 28, 2018, the group viewed the Vehicle System Test Bed (VSTB) rover in the Mars Yard. JPL staff, including MSL Sean McGill, on the right, explain to the Vice President Pence and his family how the test rovers are used.

Future Mission Plans

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Inside the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, Vice President Pence and his family view the Mars 2020 spacecraft decent stage as JPL Director Watkins explains the project.

Discussing the Future

Bill Ingalls/NASA

JPL Director Watkins talks with Vice President Pence at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility while NASA Mars Exploration Manager Li Fuk listens. The Mars 202 spacecraft decent stage can be seen in the background.

Mars 2020 Progress

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Vice President Pence and family learn of the progress of the Mars 2020 mission from JPL Director Michael Watkins during their tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Grateful for the Time

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Following the Apr. 28, 2018 tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Vice President Pence thanks JPL Deputy Director Lt. Gen. (Ret) Larry James, JPL Director Michael Watkins, JPL Distinguished Visiting Scientist and Spouse of UAG Chairman James Ellis, Elisabeth Pate-Cornell , UAG Chairman, Admiral (Ret) James Ellis , and California Institute of Technology President Thomas Rosenbaum, right, for the tour of the facility.

Reaching into Space

Bill Ingalls/NASA

During another part of the JPL tour, the Pence family learn how to send commands to the Curiosity rover on Mars from Walt Hoffman, a Mars Criosity Mission ACE. Charlotte Pence sends the command to the Mars rover.

Important Roles

Bill Ingalls/NASA

In the Mission Support Area, JPL Director Watkins shares the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's history to Vice President Pence, his family and other distinguished guests.

Learning About JPL

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Vice President Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence sit together during the tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Apr. 28, 2018, alongside several other distinguished guests, including their daughter, Charlotte Pence.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.