JPL is synonymous with technology, for research and development in every imaginable discipline associated with unmanned space exploration goes on throughout the organization. You can find information about new technologies at many of the Web sites for JPL divisions, including the key areas mentioned below.
Following NASA's lead, JPL is committed to working "faster, better, cheaper." Certainly one way of achieving this goal is to create ever-smaller and lighter spacecraft and instruments. Leading the way is the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology, which conducts research and development in such technical areas as solid-state devices, photonics, custom microcircuits and advanced computing.
Much of the technology developed at JPL is intended for NASA space missions. Visit JPL's Robotics and Mars Exploration Technology Program Office for a preview of future rovers bound for Mars. Or, read about some more Earthly spinoffs of space technology by scrolling through the Commercial Technology Office which hosts a search engine of its database of more than 4,500 technologies developed either for NASA or for a wide variety of government and industry sponsors, all available to be utilized by private industry.
In the past, all new instruments have made their debuts on expensive missions, but that is about to change. The New Millennium Program is a series of low-cost space missions expressly designed to test out new technologies, starting with the DS1 mission in 1998. This program is but one example of how JPL works with its sponsors to find creative solutions for the successful development of innovative, new technologies.
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