Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was formed on October 31, 1936. A bunch of Cal Tech students were experimenting on some rockets and they blew up some of the campus. The school moved them to a barn in the hills that wasn't around anything. This is where JPL was formed and still is today.
In October 1957, Russia sent Sputnik into the Earth's orbit. Three months later, JPL built Explorer 1. It was sent up in January of 1958. It was the first US satellite. NASA was formed in October 1958 and JPL became part of it.
In 1962 Mariner 2 became the first space craft to come close to another planet and it was made by JPL. In the late 1970s, JPL engineers and scientists realized that the sensors they were inventing for interplanetary missions could be turned to Earth to understand our home planet. This has lead to a series of highly successful Earth missions has changed into a major part of JPLs activities.
In the 1970-1990s JPL focused on rare space missions. Voyagers went to the outer planets of the solar system, Vikings went to Mars, Galileo went to Jupiter, and Cassini-Huygens went to Saturn. Some of these missions were also helped by other countries.
Now in 2016, the Juno mission successfully entered Jupiter's orbit and will collect data from the planet. We have never gotten this close to Jupiter before, so there will be lots of new information gathered about the planet.
The JPL summer internship program offers a 10 week full-time internship for both undergraduate and graduate students with degrees in STEM.