It’s August 8th and the tenth day of our trip. Today – full science program: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and Mt. Wilson Observatory.
We leave the motel at 7.30am and reach the Jet ter in already an hour. The visitor parking space is full, we place the cars quite far. Everyone quickly goes to the entrance, but it turns out that our time is only at 9.20am. In briefing the time, we are discussing the first health problems and the adventures of the previous night: someone has his feet swollen from heat, someone else slept for only two hours. The rest entertain themselves by giving clever tips, and judging the missed opportunity to sleep for at least half an hour more.
Everyone is having their documents checked and issued a promotional tour of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory sign to put around our necks.
We are a group of about 80 people. First, we are lead to the big Professor Pickering Hall, where we get introduced to safety regulations, a tour plan, and shown a video about the creation and operation of the Jet Propulsion Lab called “The Journey to the Planets and the Universe.”
The US has 10 such NASA laboratories responsible for various flight related matters: Houston is the flight control center, Kennedy in Florida is manned flight center, JPL is unmanned flight center etc.
Then the big group is divided into two parts, and we learn both about the mission management center and the how the Mars 2020 mission is prepared. At the flight control center you can follow each mission in real time by pressing its icon. To view real-time flights online, you can open DSN.now.
The visitor center has a retrospective and informative view of the laboratory’s activities. Everyone has the opportunity to view and take a photo of oneself in the infra-red version.
Morning quote: You can not become rich by selling gold, but you can become rich by selling tools for gold digging.
We drive next to Mt. Wilson Observatory. It is hot outdoors – over 30 degrees Celsius. We have arrived too early need to wait for one hour. The cafe only works on Saturdays and Sundays, when there are official tourists. We entertain ourselves by looking for a shadow, filling bottles and reading posters at the Observatory Museum, not yet knowing that guide Bruce Padget will lead through them in a binding story.
Many members of our group filled their dream of visiting the 100-inch telescope with which several significant discoveries of the 20th century have been made – Hubble using the 100-inch telescope confirms that there are other galaxies and the universe is expanding (1924).
In 1931, Albert Einstein visited the observatory, as evidenced by photography on the bridge before the telescope building. We must also take a photo there, of course.
Of course a group photo at the telescope.
The founder of the Observatory is George Ellery Hale, who built four telescopes, each of which at one time were the largest in the world. Two of them are on Mt. Wilson in Los Angeles.
We were lucky because the telescope was being maintained and we could observe how the telescope mechanics works.
In the evening, a quote from the guide, Bruce Padget, “The work in radioastronomy is boring because they explore rainbows and listen to stars.
Evening at Budget Inn Motel in El Monte.