(AP) — The California Institute of Technology has received a new five-year contract to run the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA.
A statement released by NASA Friday said the contract was worth $8.5 billion. The current contract expires at the end of September.
JPL is best known for sending robotic missions to Mars and the outer solar system. Earlier this month, engineers successfully landed the most advanced rover on Mars to study whether the Martian environment ever had the right ingredients for microbial life.
Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, the lab employs about 5,200 workers.