by Brandon Mercer

MOFFETT FIELD (CBS SF) — For the first time in 17 years, NASA Ames Research Center will open its normally well-secured gates to the public, allowing behind the scenes tours of the wind tunnels, laboratories, and even a simulated Martian landscape.

The October 18th event requires a free ticket.

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NASA Ames Tour: Ticket Registration

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The rare event will allow visitors to take a two-mile self-guided walk through the facilities, in addition to conversations with engineers and scientists.

Ames plays significant roles in the International Space Station, the Curiosity rover on Mars, Moon missions, and even a full observatory mounted inside a 747 jumbo jet.

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Buses will shuttle ticket-holders from public transit, and there is no parking on site.