NASA Mars Exploration Program

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory marks its 80th anniversary

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory marks its 80th anniversary

It was Halloween 1936 when seven young men convened in the San Gabriel Mountains to turn the idea of a working rocket from fantasy to reality.

That effort helped usher in the Space Age and marked the founding of one of the world’s leading centers for robotic exploration of the solar system, NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Caltech-managed exploration hub in La Cañada Flintridge.

Monday was the 80th anniversary of that first exhilarating trek into the nearby foothills to light a liquid rocket engine. It was much like any other workday at JPL— the sprawling campus leans casual, with scientists...

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