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  • February 21Attention SMHS Students: Unfortunately, the Sadie Hawkins Dance has been cancelled due to lack of ticket sales
  • February 20Juniors and Seniors- If you are interested in attending Hancock College’s Career Exploration, please pick up a permission slip in the College and Career Center
  • February 15No school this Friday (2/16) and Monday (2/19)!
  • February 15Congrats to our girls basketball team for their 1st round CIF win over Pioneer Valley! Score: 61:33
  • February 14Congrats to the boys varsity boys basketball team for a CIF playoff win over Sanger West High School 73-64! Our Saints advance to the quarterfinals vs #1 seed Coalinga!
  • February 14Juniors & Seniors: Interested in attending Hancock College’s Career Exploration on March 8th? Pick up a permission slip with Ms. Acosta in the Library.
  • February 14Last chance to buy a Valentine gram from the Saints band! (2/14)
  • February 14French Club is selling plush keychains and heart cookies for $1 today! (2/14)
  • February 14Ag Department will be selling flowers today! (2/14)
  • February 8The Saints Band will be selling Valentine's Grams by the band shelter during break, lunch, and after school for $3, $5, or $8
The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

NASA Jet Propulsion Lab blasts away at the speed of light.

On January 31st 2024, Physics students and staff from SMHS drove down to the Jet Propulsion Lab in Caltech Pasadena, CA
Kasey Baltodano
Pictured: physics science classes toured the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California on January 31st. “it was nice to see all the robots and satellites,” stated senior Kasey Baltodano.

Freshman from physics classes were waiting for the bus to arrive at the Stowell drop off at 5 am. The two buses left Santa Maria High school at about 5:45. It was a long drive down to Pasadena with Los Angeles traffic delaying the trip.

The bus arriving at the Stowell drop off. (Kasey Baltodano)

The two buses arrived at the NASA Jet Propulsion lab around 9 o’clock. Both buses unloaded and we were divided into two groups (between the two buses). The tour guide introduced himself and other tour guides and gave us each a lanyard with passes for the tour to be seen at all times.

Students lining up to receive their tour passes. (Kasey Baltodano)
Marisol Viegas showing off her JPL tour pass. (Kasey Baltodano)


We then walked down to an auditorium where we received a history lesson on the Jet Propulsion Lab.

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It began with a group of students who graduated Caltech University and ran a series of tests in which they made explosions in their dorm rooms and classrooms. Eventually, they were kicked out of Caltech and found another spot for their shenanigans.

On the West border of Pasadena was dry wasteland known as Arroyo Seco. In this land they were able to continue their experiments with rocket motors. Soon enough they began to see success. On October 31st, 1936 they had they’re first successful rocket launch that didn’t lead to an explosion for ten seconds. This had been the first sign of hope for the notorious “Suicide Squad.”

In 1943, due to their successful launch they had gained the interests of the U.S. Military. Since then JPL has been one of ten NASA centers around the U.S. They’re main focus is sending robots out into space instead of humans due to them being more replaceable.

Inside the Auditorium there were also some projects that JPL had worked on such as the Twin Voyagers. A peculiar fact about both voyagers is that they carry a record with instructions on how to build a functional record player in case life is found way out where they travel.

A model of the voyager that carries a record with sounds from around the world. (Kasey Baltodano)

Another interesting orbiter from JPL was the Juno satellite which is currently out by the Leo constellation exploring Juno.

A model of the Asteroid 3 Juno Satellite orbiter currently exploring Jupiter. (Kasey Baltodano)


After that short introduction we were then shown a video about JPL’s mission to find life around the galaxy. The video was then followed by a short walk around the museum where we saw different projects previously worked on by JPL.

A rover in the middle of the Museum. (Kasey Baltodano)
A satellite dish students were able to play around with and move around. (Kasey Baltodano)


The Europa clipper is a satellite that is heading for Jupiter’s 3rd largest moon, Europa. As we saw in the presentation of JPL’s mission, we know that they are exploring around the galaxy looking for life. Water is a huge sign of life, and we now know that there are layers of ice on Europa. This was a huge discovery, and the Europa clipper is going to be launched up there on October 10th, 2024.

JPL Employees working on the Europa Clipper before it is sent down to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for testing. (Kasey Baltodano)
A mannequin displaying proper lab attire to prevent contaminating space. (Kasey Baltodano)
Mars Rover model outside of the control room building. (Kasey Baltodano)

We then walked down to one of the main buildings where there would normally be a group of people observing a launched rocket but was currently empty. Inside the control room you will find live readings of satellite dishes around the world in Australia, Spain and the United States.

The control room. (Kasey Baltodano)

After the visit inside the control room we walked back down to the entrance of the tour at 12:00 pm and got back on the buses to go home. We made a quick 1 hour pitstop at In N Out in thousand oaks. After a long bus ride, the two buses arrived back in Santa Maria High School around 4:30 pm.

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About the Contributors
Hey! My name is Oswaldo Hernandez-Perez, but you can call me Waldo. This is my last year at Santa Maria High School as I am now a senior. I enjoy listening to music and filming my friends skating on my free time. I haven't written anything too promising lately, but I am excited to write a lot about our community and school this year. I feel confident that I will be able to contribute to the breeze in a helpful manner. I have experience in filming and I would love to interview people about their thoughts on our community. I am currently taking journalism because I am interested in writing stories and informing others on news and whatnot. I feel honored to be a part of The Breeze this year. I appreciate Mrs. Van D for giving me a third chance to one of her many classes lmao.  
Kasey Baltodano, Editor
Ey name is Kasey and I am a senior this year at Santa Maria High School. I am the oldest out of two kids. My younger sister currently attends SMHS as a freshman. I am the daughter of two loving parents and I am a granddaughter of equally loving grandparents. I am currently studying French and journalism. I chose journalism because the class stood out to me and I've always wondered how the life of a journalist was. I love to draw and bake sweets. I also love to hang out with friends and family and just go about anywhere. I love traveling and cave exploring. Sometimes I roller skate and go hiking. I try to do these activities when I have the time or when I have someone to go with. I also enjoy reading in my spare time and when I do, I usually read romance, drama, or mysteries/crime. I really hope to help grow The Breeze and contribute to it as much as I possibly can to have a good year. :)
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