Employing 5,000 people, and equipped with an annual budget of $1.4 billion, the JPL designed, built and now operates NASA's Deep Space Network; it was also responsible for the Mars Pathfinder and the Spirit rover's mission to Mars.
Roughly once a week, the lab opens its doors to the public; the 2- to 2.5-hour tour begins with a multimedia overview of the set-up, after which the public are shown around the Space Flight Operations Facility and the Spacecraft Assembly Facility.
Demand is high and booking well ahead is essential; security concerns dictate that US citizens need to bring a passport or driver's licence, while citizens of other countries must declare their nationality prior to booking and bring a passport and/or green card on the day. For full security and booking details, check the website.
RECOMMENDED: JPL Open House 2014 (SLIDE SHOW)