Day four was really special for everyone as we were able to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech. We were joined by Chandler G. for our excursion to JPL as she has a family-friend connection to Kevin Criddle, our tour guide. Everyone who was involved with our tour was cheerful and clearly passionate about the incredible work they do. We were shown a museum that displayed models of some of JPL’s most famous spacecraft, like Galileo, the Mars Pathfinder, and the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity. We moved onwards to hear, in depth, about unmanned spacecraft like Cassini and Voyager-1 and then even more about the recent work that Cassini has done in photographing Saturn. We toured Mission Control and stood at “The Center of the Universe,” which seemed iconic in itself, and learned about the infamous “Seven Minutes of Terror.” While wrapping up in Mission Control, we received news that William Shatner was apparently just in the foyer of the building we were currently in, but we unfortunately missed him narrowly, despite running out at the news. After JPL we grabbed a quick lunch and made our way up the winding roads of Mt. Wilson to the Observatory. There, we were given a thorough history of the Observatory, the mountain itself and the creator of the telescopes that are stationed there. We learned of the time when Albert Einstein visited, which was really exciting. After that, we drove to the Kors’ house for a wonderful dinner and swim in their pool, as well as a few hard-fought pick-up basketball games.
— Clarisse & Kylin