Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in Pasadena, California. It is managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and specializes in the development and operation of robotic space missions, primarily to explore the solar system and study Earth. JPL’s notable achievements include launching the Mars rovers and Voyager spacecraft, significantly expanding our knowledge of our neighbors in space.


The phonetics of the keyword “Jet Propulsion Laboratory” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /dʒɛt prəˈpʌlʃən ˈlæb.rəˌtɔri/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and operated for NASA.
  2. JPL specializes in the design, construction, and operation of robotic spacecraft, as well as Earth observation, astronomy, and deep space exploration missions.
  3. The laboratory has played a vital role in a number of historic and groundbreaking missions, including the Mars rovers, Voyager 1 and 2, and the Hubble Space Telescope.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a critical and prestigious institution within the realm of technology, primarily due to its pioneering innovations in space exploration and deep-space robotics.

As a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), JPL operates under the umbrella of NASA and has been instrumental in numerous groundbreaking missions, such as Mars rovers, Voyager probes, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

By pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and engineering capabilities, JPL contributes immensely to our understanding of the universe and expands human ingenuity by addressing technological challenges in space science.


Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) serves as a premier research and development center for the advancement of space exploration and technology. Managed under the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), JPL collaborates with NASA to push the boundaries of space missions and aeronautics development, enabling humanity to gain a better understanding of our universe.

JPL specializes in the development of robotic spacecrafts, delicate instruments, and state-of-the-art technology designed to unveil the mysteries of our solar system and beyond. By working closely with scientific communities and industry partners, JPL drives innovation and generates valuable knowledge, facilitating breakthrough discoveries in space science and related fields.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for numerous groundbreaking missions, with some of the most notable ones being the Mars Exploration Rover program, the Juno probe sent to Jupiter, and the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moon, Titan. JPL is also engaged in Earth and astrophysics missions that aid in understanding our planet’s climate, weather patterns, natural disasters, and observing distant celestial bodies in space.

In essence, JPL’s purpose is to unravel the unknowns of the cosmos and enhance scientific knowledge, while ensuring that the technology they develop contributes to improving life on Earth and fuels further exploration. Through their dedication and expertise, JPL continuously advances space technology, inspires generations, and cultivates curiosity about the universe we inhabit.

Examples of Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover): Launched in November 2011, the Curiosity Rover successfully landed on Mars on August 5,

Designed and built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in collaboration with NASA, the rover has been conducting scientific experiments and studying the geology, atmosphere, and climate of Mars. Curiosity’s primary mission was to determine the habitability of Mars and search for any signs of past or present life.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2: Launched in 1977, Voyagers 1 and 2 are two of the farthest human-made objects in space. Both spacecraft were designed and built by JPL and have been exploring the outer planets of our solar system for over four decades. Voyager 1 was the first human-made object to reach interstellar space in 2012, and Voyager 2 followed in

The two spacecraft continue to send back data, fundamentally improving our understanding of the outer solar system and the interstellar environment.

Juno: Launched in August 2011, Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting Jupiter. The mission was designed and managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Juno’s primary goal is to study Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. The spacecraft has been providing breathtaking images and invaluable information about the planet’s atmosphere, weather patterns, and the structure of its powerful auroras. The data collected by Juno is helping scientists better understand the origins and evolution of Jupiter and, by extension, our solar system.

Frequently Asked Questions about Jet Propulsion Laboratory

What is Jet Propulsion Laboratory?

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) under a contract with NASA. JPL focuses on the study and development of robotic spacecraft dedicated to exploring the solar system and the universe.

When was JPL founded?

JPL was founded in 1936 by a group of researchers from Caltech. It became a part of NASA when the agency was established in 1958.

Where is JPL located?

JPL is located in Pasadena, California, on a 177-acre campus approximately 11 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

What are some prominent missions launched by JPL?

JPL has launched numerous successful missions, including Voyager 1 and 2, Mars Pathfinder, the Mars rovers (Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity), and the Juno mission to Jupiter.

How can I work or intern at JPL?

To work or intern at JPL, visit the JPL career website ( for information on job opportunities, internships, and application procedures. JPL offers a variety of career opportunities for individuals with various educational backgrounds and experiences.

Are there any public tours of JPL?

Yes, JPL offers free visitor tours for the public. To reserve a tour spot, please visit the JPL public tour website ( for information on tour dates and reservation procedures. Keep in mind that tours are subject to availability and may be limited during certain times.

Related Technology Terms

  • NASA
  • Robotics
  • Space exploration
  • Mars rover
  • Deep space network

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents