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By Mary O'Keefe | November 17, 2005
Mars has always been a fascination to Earthlings. To the Romans it represented the god of war, Galileo used Mars in his observation that Earth may not be the center of the universe, and in the 1950s Mars was a source of invaders or a popular destination. For centuries people could look up and see the red planet and wonder about it, a practice we continue today. This month Earth is on the daytime side of Mars. During this time, the planets come closer than at any other time in their orbits.
NEWS
By Michael J. Arvizu | May 27, 2010
Over the next few months, NASA scientists will begin to analyze information gathered by the Phoenix Mars Lander, whose mission ended earlier this week after repeated unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the craft. The announcement comes two years after the Phoenix Mars Lander touched down on the Red Planet. The mission began on May 25, 2008, and lasted five months — two months beyond its operating expectancy, scientists said. "It did its job better than expected," said Dr. Deborah Bass, deputy project scientist for the Phoenix Mission.
NEWS
June 28, 2007
Ten Years Ago … Excitement was building at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge ten years ago this week as Independence Day 1997 would see the landing of the Pathfinder Lander and Mars Rover Project on the red planet. Manager of the Mars Exploration Program was La Cañadan Donna Shirley. Twenty Years Ago … A significant number of koi were reported missing from the ponds at Descanso Gardens and it was suspected they'd been stolen.
NEWS
April 1, 2010
Appellate judges hear Costa case The district attorney’s office on Tuesday made its case for why murder charges should be reinstated in the case against the driver in the April 1, 2009 fatal Angeles Crest Highway accident. A decision from the court is expected within the next 90 days. Marcos Costa, 44, of Massachusetts drove his big rig car carrier down Angeles Crest Highway a year ago today. His brakes failed and the truck crashed through several vehicles and into a store on Foothill Boulevard.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | May 24, 2007
For almost 20 years JPL's annual Open House has attracted visitors from all over Southern California and beyond. Each area of exploration, from Earth science to outside our own galaxy, is represented not only with pictures and models but also by experts who can answer any and all questions. For example, at the "Ask A Martian" booth at the Mars exhibit at the open house last weekend questions ranged from: "Is their life on Mars?" to "How does JPL prepare the equipment to explore so far away?"
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | July 26, 2007
Several Jet Propulsion Laboratory projects got a vote of confidence recently from the House Appropriations Committee when it passed a bill that included funding for projects managed by the La Cañada Flintridge facility. "It is no secret that we have in our region one of the world's premier science institutes," Congressman Adam Schiff said of his continued support of JPL. Schiff was recently appointed to serve on the Appropriations Committee. The bill's total funding is $1.6 billion to $1.65 billion with $1.5 billion coming from the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee, which Schiff is a member.
NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | June 18, 2009
To many, the traditional images of scientists and engineers were of men, but at Jet Propulsion Laboratory that stereotypical representation has never been the case. “There are a fair number of women here,” said Joy Crisp, Mars Science Laboratory deputy project scientist. Crisp, along with fellow MSL scientists and engineers Jamie Waldo, lead mobility engineer; Julie Townsend, robotics engineer and robot driver; and Suparna Mukherjee, sampling engineer, has had a love of science for many years.
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By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com | May 25, 2011
JPL scientists announced this week that they have given up attempts to regain contact with the Mars rover Spirit, which powered down in March 2010 after becoming stuck in loose soil on the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet. The last of more than 1,300 unanswered command signals hoped to reawaken Spirit was sent into space at 12:04 a.m. Wednesday, said JPL Mars Exploration Rovers Project Manager John Callas. Many factors went into the decision to end Spirit’s mission, including the need to preserve Mars relay orbiters in top condition for November’s anticipated launch of the new rover Curiosity, a plummeting probability for success, and the fact that “even if we heard from her today, there would so little energy, we couldn’t do the science objectives we wanted to do,” he said.
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NEWS
By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com | May 9, 2011
A JPL scientist’s pitch for a new Mars lander that would perform unprecedented study of the Red Planet’s interior is one of three ideas in the running for future NASA funding through the agency’s competitive Discovery Program. The proposed Geophysical Monitoring Station (GEMS) would pack a scientific payload that includes a thermal probe, seismometer and orbital tracking system. All are tools for discovering the inner composition of Mars to help explain the largely unknown story of that planet’s beginnings — and to some degree, Earth’s — explained JPL’s Bruce Banerdt, who would lead the project.
NEWS
By Joe Piasecki, The Valley Sun | October 29, 2010
The Mars rover Spirit has been stuck in sand for some 18 months, but that hasn't stopped JPL scientists from making new discoveries. Analysis of soil layers that the rover exposed while trying to break free of a Martian sand trap has turned up new evidence that liquid water once existed on the Red Planet. Just below the planet's dusty surface, water-soluble minerals were found layered below less-dissolvable minerals, leading the rover team to hypothesize that the water-soluble minerals were dissolved and then deposited by water percolating down from melting ice or snow.
NEWS
By Michael J. Arvizu | May 27, 2010
Over the next few months, NASA scientists will begin to analyze information gathered by the Phoenix Mars Lander, whose mission ended earlier this week after repeated unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the craft. The announcement comes two years after the Phoenix Mars Lander touched down on the Red Planet. The mission began on May 25, 2008, and lasted five months — two months beyond its operating expectancy, scientists said. "It did its job better than expected," said Dr. Deborah Bass, deputy project scientist for the Phoenix Mission.
NEWS
April 1, 2010
Appellate judges hear Costa case The district attorney’s office on Tuesday made its case for why murder charges should be reinstated in the case against the driver in the April 1, 2009 fatal Angeles Crest Highway accident. A decision from the court is expected within the next 90 days. Marcos Costa, 44, of Massachusetts drove his big rig car carrier down Angeles Crest Highway a year ago today. His brakes failed and the truck crashed through several vehicles and into a store on Foothill Boulevard.
NEWS
By Carol Cormaci | December 31, 2009
Many will shake their heads today and say, ?Where did the year go?? It was a speedy one, from my point of view too, but have also you considered how quickly the first decade of this century swept past as well? Take a look over my shoulder and see just some of the events the Valley Sun covered between 2000 and 2008 (you can find the 2009 review beginning on Page 1). In 2000, JPL announced it had given up all hope of finding the Mars Polar Lander, lost the previous December.
NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | June 18, 2009
To many, the traditional images of scientists and engineers were of men, but at Jet Propulsion Laboratory that stereotypical representation has never been the case. “There are a fair number of women here,” said Joy Crisp, Mars Science Laboratory deputy project scientist. Crisp, along with fellow MSL scientists and engineers Jamie Waldo, lead mobility engineer; Julie Townsend, robotics engineer and robot driver; and Suparna Mukherjee, sampling engineer, has had a love of science for many years.
NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | May 29, 2008
The news vans, cameras and reporters are slowly moving out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory parking lot after a weekend of crossed fingers, lucky peanuts and amazing scientific and engineering achievement. Just before 5 p.m on Sunday the Phoenix spacecraft used its descent thrusters and landed on its three legs on the Martian surface, all according to plan. The landing procedure was last attempted in 1999 with the Mars Polar Lander but communication was lost with the spacecraft shortly before it entered Mars?
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