The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been at the forefront of robotics, aerospace, and space exploration for more than 70 years. JPL is home to NASA's Mars Rover project, which sends robots to explore the surface of Mars.
The lab was founded in 1936 by Dr. Jack Parsons and Dr. Frank Malina as a facility related to the then-nascent field of rocketry. To date, JPL has launched more than 130 deep-space missions and developed such scientific innovations as the laser beam guidance system and the Hubble Space Telescope. Now let’s take a closer look at JPL's history and see how it can inspire you to reach new heights in your business or personal life.
The founding of JPL
JPL was founded by two young Caltech scientists, Jack Parsons and Frank Malina. They were interested in rocket science, but saw that there wasn't enough funding for the research they wanted to do. Since most of the money allocated for these kinds of projects went to military research, they decided to found their own lab with a focus on research, development, and exploration.
The Pasadena-based laboratory would be called Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The name is a reference to both jet propulsion technology and the fluid dynamics term "jet stream." JPL's first major task was developing solid-fuel rockets for military use at the start of World War II.
The Lab's Technology and Contributions
JPL is best known for its work in the field of space exploration. It has designed, built, and managed every robotic planetary mission sent by NASA to explore the solar system. Some of JPL's most notable successes include the exploration of Mars, the discovery of ice on Mercury, and the infrared measurements that led to Pluto's reclassification as a dwarf planet.
Another important contribution by JPL is in technology. The lab developed the laser beam guidance system that was crucial for landing on the Moon. This same technology can now be found guiding ships through foggy harbors without lights or buoys because it emits highly visible green light.
How to learn from JPL's success
JPL has always been at the forefront of innovation, and its success can be attributed to its emphasis on creativity and collaborative teamwork. Here are some ways that you can learn from JPL's success.
- Emphasize creativity: One of the things that makes JPL successful is the emphasis it puts on creativity. The lab emphasizes collaboration among staff members, which has led to breakthroughs like the development of the Hubble Space Telescope. You should also make an effort to foster creativity in your company by giving staff members opportunities to brainstorm solutions for problems they're facing, instead of giving them a list of steps to follow.
- Invest in STEM education: Another thing that makes JPL successful is its long-standing commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Thanks in part to this commitment, well over half of all NASA employees have a degree in a STEM field—a huge percentage for any organization. You can encourage your employees to participate in STEM programs outside of work as well by offering assistance with tuition assistance or allowing them time off for educational pursuits.>>END>>
What do you want to accomplish?
The JPL's history is one of innovation and progress. It has always been a vanguard in the fields of aerospace and robotics. Parsons and Malina created the laboratory with the goal to create rockets that would work for the US Military during World War II. From its origins, JPL has proven to be a place where big ideas can come to life.
Today, it continues to push boundaries by developing cutting-edge technologies such as automated rovers, laser beam guidance systems, and even space telescopes. With so much success already, what could you accomplish if you followed in JPL's footsteps?
NASA's JPL is a research and development lab that has had an impressive portfolio of achievements over the past 60 years. If you're interested in becoming more successful in your own career, there are some things you can learn from JPL's success.