Dawn Soars at 2014 JPL Open House

by Dawn Education & Communications


Two days…
…200+ scientists and engineers…
…Live demonstrations…
…NASA’s thrilling space science.

What happens when people come together with a common mission to tell the stories of NASA and make it happen? 45,716 visitors traveled from afar to find out at the 2014 JPL Open House in Pasadena, California on October 11-12. The event, themed “Welcome to Our Universe,” invited visitors on a “ride” through the wonders of space. Highlights included a life-size model of the Curiosity rover and demonstrations from numerous space missions—including Dawn. Dawn visited giant asteroid Vesta from 2011 to 2012, and will arrive at dwarf planet Ceres in the spring of 2015. A 3-D print of protoplanet Vesta, gorgeous images, and an ion engine just like the one being used by Dawn to orbit its destinations helped the mission’s scientists and engineers tell the tale of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that drives the mission!

JPL Open house

Dawn team members and volunteers manned the Dawn booth answering a myriad of questions from curious space enthusiasts about NASA’s Dawn mission:

My favorite part of Open House is always seeing amazement in people’s eyes. Profound new understandings of the nature of the universe or the extraordinary power of human ingenuity register in them—it almost feels as if you participate in someone’s wonderful life-changing experience.
Marc Rayman, Chief Engineer and Mission Director of the Dawn mission

…I had one woman tell me that she’s taken a picture in front of the Dawn display every year that we’ve been at open house!
Kristina Larson, Dawn Spacecraft Systems Engineer, JPL

I was particularly surprised at how passionate people still are about Pluto’s status as a dwarf planet.
Keri Bean, Dawn Science Planning & Sequencing Engineer, JPL

People were excited to hear that Ceres was actually a planet before Pluto and that it was ‘demoted’ from planetary status to asteroid, and now ‘promoted’ to dwarf planet. They were captivated by the dynamic process of science!!
Joe Wise, Dawn EPO Lead, Wildwood School

I loved the delight and wonder in children and adults alike as they held a life-like model of Vesta, touched an ion propulsion engine, and explored a to-scale replica of the actual Dawn spacecraft. The science we’re still exploring on Vesta became real to them, the technology aboard the Dawn spacecraft awesome. We all decided we can’t wait to uncover the mysteries at dwarf planet Ceres when we arrive in spring, 2015!
Judy Counley, Dawn Education and Public Outreach

space enthusiast engaged at Dawn booth

Left: Siblings compare Ceres to other dwarf planets. Right: Brother and sister point out how colors denote elevation on the topographical map of Vesta made with stereo pictures taken by the camera aboard the Dawn spacecraft.Credit: NASA/McREL



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