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NEWS
September 24, 2013
It's a climate puzzle that has vexed scientists for more than a decade and added fuel to the arguments of those who insist man-made global warming is a myth. Since just before the start of the 21st century, the Earth's average global surface temperature has failed to rise despite soaring levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and years of dire warnings from environmental advocates, the Los Angeles Times reported. Now, as scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gather in Sweden this week to approve portions of the IPCC's fifth assessment report, they are finding themselves pressured to explain this glaring discrepancy.
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NEWS
September 18, 2013
A longtime official at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge will retire at the end of the month, the agency announced Wednesday. Gen. Eugene Tattini has served as deputy director of JPL for the past 12 years. He will leave the lab on Sept. 20. U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Larry D. James will take over the position on Sept. 23. “We owe our gratitude to General Tattini for his dedication and contributions during the past 12 years, which were filled with numerous successful spacecraft launches and milestones, including the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity,” JPL Director Charles Elachi said in a statement.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | September 4, 2013
Flags at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge were lowered to half staff last week as the NASA center honored former JPL director Bruce C. Murray, who passed away at 81. Murray died on Thursday, Aug. 29 at his home in Oceanside after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was director of the lab from 1976 to 1982. During his watch, he saw Voyager 1 and 2 launch to explore Jupiter and Saturn, and Viking land on Mars. He was also a scientist on the first Mars missions - Mariner 3 and 4. After he left JPL, Murray became a professor of planetary science and geology at Caltech in Pasadena.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | June 20, 2013
A NASA-funded treatment plant in Pasadena has removed hundreds of pounds of toxic residue left over from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's early rocket-building days. The $8.5 million Monk Hill water treatment facility has removed 674 pounds of perchlorate from 7,773 acre-feet of water since it opened in 2011, said Steve Slaten, a NASA remediation project manager. Twenty-three pounds of trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent, have also been removed from the water supply. The space agency agreed to pay for cleanup after perchlorates from rocket fuel was detected in several area wells.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | May 22, 2013
Less than a year after the rover Curiosity's successful landing on Mars, scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are at work on two new missions to the Red Planet. The space agency last year announced that a new lander and rover would join Curiosity and fellow rover Opportunity on Mars. The InSight mission will launch a lander in 2016 that will explore the planet's core, while a new rover, which will be similar to Curiosity both in look and design, is set to launch in 2020.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com and By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | May 13, 2013
Scientists and engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory were unfairly disciplined for sending emails about a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving background checks at the agency, a judge has ruled. The ruling comes after the JPL employees challenged being disciplined for using their work email accounts to disseminate information to colleagues about the 2007 Supreme Court decision upholding federal background checks for scientists. JPL administrators said using work email accounts for such purposes violated employee policy.
NEWS
May 8, 2013
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has emerged from its "spring break" and is back to work, officials at Jet Propulsion Laboratory said this week. Up next on the agenda: Drilling the second target at Yellowknife Bay. The Mars Science Laboratory mission made big news shortly before its break, turning up key evidence of life-friendly environments in its first drill sample, said mission deputy project scientist Ashwin Vasavada. The revelation came just in time. Mars slipped behind the sun during the month of April, in a phenomenon known as solar conjunction.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | April 24, 2013
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's annual open house allows space geeks and budding young scientists a rare peek inside the missions behind the La Cañada Flintridge facility. But the popular event, scheduled for June 8 and 9, has been canceled because of federal spending cuts. It typically attracts crowds of more than 15,000 each day. "Everyone here is just horribly disappointed," said JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor. "This is an event we look forward to each year and we know the public really looks forward to attending it. " Blaine Baggett, JPL's director of communications and education, said in an email that canceling the event was a difficult decision.
NEWS
April 23, 2013
Bracing for “significant impacts” to funding for public outreach programs next year, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory decided to cancel its hugely popular open house in June. The cost savings? Roughly $400,000 for the two-day event. The figure is a comparatively slim sum for an agency that deals with budgets into the billions, but comes as NASA faces pressure to cut costs where it can amid the across-the-board federal spending reductions known as sequestration. It was that downward pressure that JPL cited when it announced last week that the open house scheduled for June 8 and 9 would be canceled to save money.
NEWS
April 18, 2013
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is suspending the open house that had been scheduled for June 8 and 9, making the popular yearly gathering the latest casualty of the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration. The “difficult decision” to put off the event was reached Tuesday, JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor said in an e-mail to The Times.  “If we can hold it later in the year after the budgetary dust settles, we will,” she wrote. Last month, NASA issued an internal memo suspending “all education and public outreach activities … pending further review” because of sequestration.
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