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Jet Propulsion Laboratory Archives: Galactic Greats

Guide for accessing all types of materials in the JPL Archives.

Galactic Greats

To celebrate Archives Month 2021, we decided to put together a small display of some of our staff members' favorite collection items. We hope you enjoy!  CL#21-4795

Victoria
Castaneda

Kylie
Casino
Madison
Teodo
Julie
Cooper
Stephanie
Velazquez
Tori
Maglonzo
Nicole
McKeon

Nicole McKeon:
Transferred to the Archives by a current JPLer, this Mars Exploration Rover (MER) quilt represents the close connection JPLers feel for the spacecraft we make. There was even a funeral service held after Oppy’s end of mission. I love how homey this quilt feels; it was hand-stitched and even shows the rover smiling!

Tori Maglonzo:
One of my favorite artifacts in the archives is a traditional Thai Benjarong style bowl, gifted to the Lab by Miss Thailand 2010 during a visit to JPL. The piece displays a traditional Thai style of ceramic work that features multicolored patterns on white porcelain. I love that this piece represents how NASA and JPL are embraced globally, and how far our impact reaches.

Julie Cooper:
This model of the Ranger Block III spacecraft was found in a dusty, old hangar at the NASA Ames Research center in Northern California. The model was transferred to the JPL Archives under the direction of Senior Archivist, Julie Cooper, who compared the model to previous photos and noticed that the Omnidirectional Antenna was missing from the top of the model. Julie worked with Section 176 (then the IT Chief Technology and Innovation Office) who used 3D printing technology to create a replacement part for the model, from archival drawings and photos. JPL Archives staff created an exhibit entitled, “Ranger 7 50th Anniversary” which included the story of the missing antenna, as well as photos and documentation from the Ranger missions. It’s a good example of Archives outreach at JPL, and cooperation among the NASA Archivists at the various centers - we exchange information about Archives activities, refer researchers, and make sure collections go to the appropriate center.

Madison Teodo:
This eccentric and detailed painting is a recent addition to the JPL Archives and has quickly become a favorite among our team members. The image was painted by Chet Hill, and shows various places and aerospace-related items including Caltech, JPL, Saturn, satellites, The Keck Observatory, and more. The painting includes a depiction of Donald Schroeder, who worked at Caltech and JPL in the 1960s and 1970s, “sand surfing” across the universe to Hawaii. This is clearly a very special, and personal painting that captures Don’s lifetime of achievements in a fun and creative medium. We rarely receive such personal artwork in the archives and the size (about 5' wide and 2' tall) and unique content make this a standout piece and a personal favorite.

Kylie Casino:
Harris “Bud” K. Schurmeier was the third Project Manager for the Ranger series of spacecraft. In this photo, taken 1962-12-14, Schurmeier stands in his wizard costume in front of men in bunny suits, showing us the awe we all feel when looking at Mariner R III bathed in light. I love this image because it shows how JPL has always embraced its fun culture, especially surrounding our birthday, Halloween! I chuckle every time I see this, which is often because it’s my computer background and it hangs up in my cubicle! Image number: 352-3855Bc

Victoria Castaneda:
We love our desk décor here in the archives! In addition to the pins we personally receive for current projects, our team consistently receives donations of pins, stickers, and ornaments from retirees or the family members of past JPLers. Our team often recieves duplicates of these, and gives these items a second life by displaying them on our cubicles. I love the pins and buttons because they showcase the close connection JPLers have to our missions and projects. My personal favorite is the button that says ‘Keep Magellan Alive’! The lab clearly has a lot of affection for the amazing work that we do.

Stephanie Velazquez:
1965-1975 JPL Master Plans are bound volumes that represent marked changes to the physical landscape of the Lab over time. Usually presented by the decade, each edition of the Master Plan showcases the modality of each respective era. I really appreciate the detailed, artistic representation of the Lab, and how closely it compares to the landscape today.

Nicole McKeon:
The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) was a series of scientific instruments placed on the moon by astronauts during Apollos 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The specific instrument shown here is the solar wind spectrometer which was placed during Apollo 12 in 1969. Its job was to study the solar winds on the moon and it did that until it was turned to standby mode in 1976. I discovered this image of ALSEP with
Dr. Conway W. Snider, the former Project Scientist on Viking Mars missions, pretty early into my processing of the negative collection and something about this little instrument really captured my attention. The triangle on the top of it looks like a mouth, giving it the look of a small creature. It’s fun to think about it still up on the moon, dreaming about studying the winds!

Madison Teodo:
Ken Hodges was an artist who did contract work for JPL, in the decades before computer generated images were available. Artwork was used for mission proposals, presentations. and outreach. He would get engineering drawings and scale models from a mission project office, and he would show a spacecraft in orbit around a planet, or landing on it. We have a collection of original Hodges artwork, some donated by his widow, and the rest by JPL Graphics. I find the intersection between art and science to be so fascinating and have a particular fondness for all of the contributions made by NASA/JPL artists prior to the advent of digital design. Ken’s unique perspective and bright colors make his work a personal favorite of mine.

Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), 1978-10-18 and Venus Orbiting Imaging Radar (VOIR), 1979-05-18, which was a precursor to Venus Radar Mapper (VRM) and Magellan.

Madison Teodo:
Ken Hodges was an artist who did contract work for JPL, in the decades before computer generated images were available. Artwork was used for mission proposals, presentations. and outreach. He would get engineering drawings and scale models from a mission project office, and he would show a spacecraft in orbit around a planet, or landing on it. We have a collection of original Hodges artwork, some donated by his widow, and the rest by JPL Graphics. I find the intersection between art and science to be so fascinating and have a particular fondness for all of the contributions made by NASA/JPL artists prior to the advent of digital design. Ken’s unique perspective and bright colors make his work a personal favorite of mine.

Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), 1978-10-18 and Venus Orbiting Imaging Radar (VOIR), 1979-05-18, which was a precursor to Venus Radar Mapper (VRM) and Magellan.

Stephanie Velazquez:
The Kasei Valles represented on this plaque are a giant system of
canyons in Mare Acidalium and Lunae Palus quadrangles on Mars. Named for the Japanese word for ‘Mars,’ they are 1,580 km (980 mi) long, making them one of the largest outflow channel systems on Mars. It is believed that the catastrophic floods that carved these canyons age to Hesperian or Late Hesperian times, which is the middle, volcanism-dominated era of Mars’ geologic history. I love the vivid red hues of this plaque, which remind me of the Mars 2020 mission.

Victoria Castaneda:
The Great Galactic Ghoul, whose mythos came from a jovial conversation between Time Magazine reporter, Donald Neff, and John Casani in 1969, is a mythical monster that is said to live in space between Earth and Mars that feeds on unfortunate spacecrafts. This depiction of the ghoul was created by NASA contractor, G.W. Burton, in "Mariner VII Pre-Encounter Anomaly Analysis, Vol I," JPL605-230. The psychedelic ghoul, depicted here, can be seen floating near Mars holding the Mariner VII spacecraft. The ghoul is so cute! He looks a bit mischievous, but that’s why we love him. Image number: 260-95

Tori Maglonzo:
This vintage reel is part of a NASA series that includes compilation clips of various space missions. The series was released to the 8mm home movie market with a newsreel framework. I love that this little piece of our history was able to make it into the hands of the public. The cover art has a vibrant, cartoon-like appearance that would likely attract the next generation of space innovators to NASA. Now, the reels are often collected or even sometimes found in secondhand film markets with the cartoons, sports highlights, and westerns reels.

Kylie Casino:
In September 1960, Allyn B. "Hap" Hazard, a Senior Development Engineer in the Missile Engineering Section, wrote a plan for manned space exploration. JPL was transitioning from missiles to space exploration, and Hap had a lot of ideas. In March 1961, Hap left JPL to work at Aerojet, and presumably to work on the suit and his other inventions. In addition to the suit, he designed and built a hydrofoil boat and a snow making machine during his time at JPL.

It doesn't appear that the suit was ever an official JPL project, and very little documentation exists in the JPL Archives except for the photographs and his report, which includes a disclaimer, "The views expressed in this paper are those of the writer …." The Archives also has a series of photos and drawings of his Lunar Exploration Space Suit Mark 1 and plans for a moon mobile that could be controlled from the dashboard inside the suit. 
I always get a little giggle out of seeing anything from Hap! His fun nickname and really ahead-of-the-curve ideas are just so JPL to me. And look how happy he looks in his moon suit!

Image numbers: 352-3192A, 352-3192C

Contact information for the JPL Archives: