Papa’s college friend, Mr. Rajeev Joshi, invited us to tour NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL is a CAL Tech sponsored NASA branch, and, according to Mr. Rajeev, also the size of Disneyland. They were in charge of Curiosity, the recent Mars Rover, as well as Cassini, Explorer (all 5), Kepler, Phoenix, Ulysses, and Voyager (and many more). Mr. Rajeev worked on the Mars Rover programming system.
But let’s get to the fun part later. After all, you can’t have your sandwich after your red velvet cupcake! We’ll get to that later- first- food!
DISH Restaurant (according to their website at http://www.dishbreakfastlunchanddinner.com/) was voted best breakfast in L.A. by AOL Viewers Poll of 2004. Not at all fancy, though slightly old-fashioned, DISH is a non-expensive place that serves simple but delicious meals to their customers.
Since we got there before Mr. Rajeev and Ms. Jennifer and because it was already 1:15, we decided to first order a salad with green apple, candied walnuts, and crumbly blue cheese topped with a green apple vinaigrette. It was a delicious starter, and got finished off in a heartbeat. Anya and Karsen ordered fresh lemonade (extremely sour!), and both Mommy and Papa both ordered an iced tea.
We also noticed that DISH had an old-fashioned stove near us and old-fashioned pepper and salt shakers. It is always a joy to see that some places still keep old-fashioned things, even for display (Papa loves old-fashioned things).
Our waiter’s name was Jesse. Karsen ordered the green goddess sandwich, with a delicious green goddess sauce. This was probably the best thing all of us ordered. The greens mixed with the avocado provided a delectable taste. The fries were soggy, with the exception of Papa’s sweet potato fries.
Strangely, Papa, Karsen , and Anya all got sandwiches. Anya had a special brie and bacon grilled cheese. When Anya was small, instead of saying “Cheese!” in front of the camera, she said “Brie!” Such is the life of a sophisti-kid.
Although both of these sandwiches may look the same, the green goddess was far superior and completely worth another try.
Papa got the pulled pork sandwich, which was good with the exception of the fries, which were still slightly soggy.
Mommy got a mushroom burger, which none of us wanted, and according to her, was much too filling (she wishes she had gotten a salad instead!).
Mr. Rajeev and his wife both got a chicken salad, and since they are probably regulars there, probably know what to get.
Anya, being the greedy pig she is, ordered a gigantic red velvet cupcake. Since it was so big, she shared it with Mommy and Karsen. It was a very moist cupcake, with a delicious cream cheese topping. After all, what’s not to like about red velvet?
We give DISH 3 1/2 smiley faces. The best thing about this meal was probably Karsen’s green goddess sandwich—perfect.
😀 😀 😀 1/2
Now back to the exciting part-JPL. Like we said before, JPL, or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is a part of NASA managed by the California Institute of Technology, or Cal Tech. And, like we said before, it is also the size of Disneyland. Mr. Rajeev first took us to the Visitors’ Center where there was a small gift shop and where we signed in and the lady there gave us some cool visitor’s tags. We also took a picture of Mr. Rajeev by the front desk. JPL is WAY cooler than DISH (just so you know).
We then proceeded to the JPL auditorium. The auditorium is where announcements of NASA events happened. If, in this blog, you see a million different words that mean the same thing as another word, it is because, KARSEN (darling brother that he is), likes to look up words in the thesaurus (please pardon his idiocy- OUCH! I thought we agreed- no SLAPPING me!) Here is a picture of us at the auditorium (you can pretend that we are making an important new announcement):
After the auditorium we went to the JPL Museum. There we examined the former JPL projects. We saw a plate of images to indicate we are a sentient species if another alien sentient species sees it, and some sounds of the Earth that will play to an alien species. The plate is made out of gold because of the obstacles in space (this is just a replica; obviously, the other one is in space).
That was Mommy’s favorite. We saw many replicas of JPL projects and information concerning them, along with the 7 minutes of terror video which you can see on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki_Af_o9Q9s
We also saw some other replicas (some full size, some not) in the museum. Here are some other pictures of the museum:
After this we advanced (another thesaurus word) to the official JPL gift shop, where we bought Rubik’s cube coasters and where Karsen impressed the sales staff by solving JPL’s Rubik’s cube in under a minute.
Next was Papa’s favorite part- the Mars Rover testing stage. There JPL workers create Mars-like situations. Currently, Curiosity’s tires are breaking and small holes are forming in them, which was inevitable, but happened much more quickly than they originally thought. We managed to glimpse a JPL worker create a situation and test it out on the tires.
There was also a building with a replica of Curiosity, a rover that takes pictures of the planet Mars, checking to see if there is possible life on Mars itself. Actually, in Curiosity’s old tires, there was JPL written over them, so essentially, if the craft were to land on Mars, JPL would be written all over Mars’s red surface. Since JPL is still considered a part of NASA, they were not allowed to advertise itself; instead, secretly, there are strategic holes in the wheels, spelling JPL in morse code. If this were to be discovered by NASA, it would be far too late to change it, because, as we all know, the rover is in space. Here is a youtube link featuring Curiosity’s successful descent onto Mars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJgeoHBQpFQ
The model inside the museum had the morse code tiles but this rover used the old JPL tires-so they wouldn’t have to spend more money making other ones.
And a close-up of Curiosity’s tires: See how many holes there are?
There was a covered area very close to Curiosity, and inside was hidden the Mars Rover replica.
After walking down a flight of stairs, we entered a building with a replica of a data transmitter- from NASA to space, space to NASA. Here is a video of the data transmitting. Signals going towards the ceiling are going to space, and signals going down are to NASA (think about the ratios- there is so much more data coming to us then going out!)
There was also another Curiosity model- this one showed the morse code tires- very cool.
Now this marks the end of our long and wonderful journey at JPL, much like Alice, the second time she falls through the rabbit hole. Special thanks to Mr. (Dr.) Rajeev for arranging this and providing us with a 2+ hour tour! FYI, Mr. Rajeev is incredibly intelligent – he was able to answer ALL of our questions (and we asked a lot of questions!)
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL): 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀