Oh My Stars, It's Nearly Time for ‘Explore JPL' Tickets

The free, popular, and weekend-long look-around at the space institution fills up in a jiffy.

What to Know

  • JPL in Pasadena
  • June 9 and 10, 2018; tickets available on April 7
  • Free

Musing about the marvels of space, and pondering some of its age-old mysteries, is an amazing way to pass an hour with a few other astrono-buffs, those people who dig a discussion about the moons of Jupiter and the quirks of quarks.

But there's nothing to muse about or ponder when it comes to the free tickets for the Jet Propulsion Labratory's annual "Explore JPL" event: They're gone at the speed of light, or, if not quite that fast, then in a jiffy.

True, "a jiffy" is not exactly an astronomical term, no, but earthlings understand its meaning.

It's fast.

And that super-fast, tickets-gone-in-no-time moment is just ahead for the Pasadena-based space institution, which is rightly famous for about a thousand different things, including sending exploratory rovers to the planet next door.

JPL is a treasure, in short, and you can go inside, for free, on Saturday, June 9 or Sunday, June 10, 2018. BUT, and we'll make that BUT as big as Jupiter to draw your attention to what we're about to say next, you'll need to secure a ticket well in advance to do so.

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And tickets will be available starting on Saturday, April 7, at 9 in the morning. That's Pasadena time, as in California time, and not the time on Mars.

Wait. What time is it on Mars? Right now? We feel like someone should be making wristwatches to keep track of exactly that.

Don't space out yet; here are some important things to know:

The tickets will be available online.

You can request up to five tickets, for you and your space-loving crew.

Your ticket will be tied to a particular time, just to keep the flow of rover enthusiasts moving as smoothly as a comet zooms through the cosmos.

You'll see so much, including "... a life-sized model of InSight — the next mission to Mars scheduled to launch in May — and Mars rovers, plus JPL's machine shop, where precise parts are made for spacecraft."

Hello, and it's NASA's 60th anniversary, too. Cheers to you, NASA.

The upshot?

It'll be a lively, science-packed, learning-big weekend, for sure, so tap "April 7" into your Mars-tracking wristwatch, and "9 a.m.," too, and then proceed to land on your ticket as easily as a rover touches down upon the red dirt of a not-so-far-off planet.

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