A six-month 300-mile journey to Mars has come to an end for NASA’s InSight Lander and for it’s operators in Pasadena, California who erupted in cheers with the mission’s success.
It is the first Mars landing since NASA’s Curiosity Rover touched down on the red planet in 2012, and the first liftoff to another planet from the West Coast at the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc.
In wake of the landing on Monday, NASA Solar System Ambassador, John Hoot, hosted an “Evening on Mars” event from the Anaheim Central Library to inform around 100 curious adults and children about InSight and its mission to Mars.
“I was excited for the people who put so much work into the project. They succeeded in getting their instruments to Mars,” Hoot said. “Mars is hard. About half of all missions have failed historically. I think our batting average has gotten better but it’s still technologically a tremendously hard challenge.”
The landing signals the start of a two-year mission to study the interior of Mars for clues as to how the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago. NASA has spent $814 million on the robotic lander.
InSight will drill into the planet’s interior and take measurements with a seismometer to study potential marsquakes or meteorites hitting the surface of the planet. It will also record its temperature to determine if Earth and Mars are similarly made. It is the first time the planet has undergone a “thorough health checkup,” according to NASA.
With past Mars missions, rovers have only been able to get through the first few inches of the planet’s crust, only scratching the surface, Hoot said. He said the InSight will provide an opportunity to learn more about what hasn’t been explored beyond its crust.
After hearing about the successful landing, Louis Vest, president of the Titan …