Physics Colloquium- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Kent State University Physics Colloquium:
"JPL Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"
Dr. Joseph Sauvageau, System Manager,
Astronomy, Physics and Space Technology Directorate
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caifornia Institute of Technology
With humble beginnings in the 1930s, and becoming the first NASA center in 1958, the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) is the leading US center for robotic exploration of the solar system. In 1958, JPL successfully launched the first US spacecraft Explorer 1 and we have made history with mis-sions, such as Galileo to Jupiter, Cassini to Saturn, and we have maintained a continued presence on Mars since 1997. Currently there are 19 spacecraft and a multitude of major instruments carrying out planetary, Earth science and space-based astronomy missions. We also operate NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN), a worldwide network of communication facilities, located in the U.S. (California), Spain (Madrid), and Australia (Canberra), that support all of NASA's interplanetary spacecraft missions. JPL is unique because we have the ability to see the entire lifecycle of a mission, spanning design conception, fabrication, imple-mentation and monitoring of the spacecraft via DSN. The talk will include an overview of JPL’s past and present and will walk through some of the future instruments and next generation space telescopes being developed with the main goal, for the first time, to directly image Earth-like exoplanets, and characterize their atmospheric gas content in an effort to search for signatures of habitability and biological activity such as water, oxygen and ozone.