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8 trail-blazing images from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jan. 4, 2012, 8:47 a.m.
aerial view of Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Photo: NASA/JPL

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Born to explore

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology has long been at the forefront of NASA’s missions into space. Director Charles Elachi says JPL pushes the outer edges of exploration as a NASA laboratory through the use of robotics. As a source of inspiration, Elachi cites a quote from American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail." Such has been the motto for trailblazing JPL creations as America’s first satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. JPL was first established by the California Institute of Technology in the 1930s. The laboratory has been a part of NASA’s most exciting missions around our planet and beyond. (Text: Katherine Butler)