Dare Mighty Things: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

One of the joys of adult children is reconnecting with their friends from childhood and celebrating how they are all grown up.  I chatted with John Luke Wolff who is a rocket scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at a recent wedding.  He loves his work and figuring out a parachute for a spaceship is fascinating, so I said yes when he offered to give us a tour when we flew down for the USC football game.

Tevis and John Luke at JPL

He arranged passes with security and personally guided us through the very large campus, which is the equivalent of the Google campus for aerospace engineers. It is set on a hill, so instead of bicycles, the enterprising project engineer wants a golf cart.  The grounds are extensive and accommodate the tamest deer herd I have ever seen.

Replica of Mars Rover at JPL

We learned that JPL is a unique joint partnership with NASA and CalTech.  It hosts some of the smartest people in their field, like the guy who knows everything about fasteners including fasteners in space.  (Remember the Muppets’ Pigs in Space-ace-ace? hahaha)

John Luke, who is a very sweet-hearted young man, is also wicked smart. He is working on the Mars landing team and manages experiments that I do not really understand. I love his laid back enthusiasm. And I love the JPL motto:  Dare Mighty Things.  Like sending a Rover to Mars.