6 Months And 300 Million Miles Later, NASA Spacecraft Successfully Lands On MarsPlay
"30 meters...20 meters...17 meters. Standing by for touchdown...."
Several dozen scientists gathered anxiously in the Mission Control Center in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Monday.
At 2:54 p.m. the room erupted. "Touchdown confirmed."
After six months and 300 million miles traveled, the NASA spacecraft, The InSight lander, successfully landed on Mars.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said nothing compares to the feeling of being inside Mission Control.
"You could feel the emotion. It was very quiet when it was time to be quiet and very celebratory with every little piece of information that was received," Bridenstine said during a live stream after the landing.
Vice President Mike Pence called Bridenstein moments after touchdown.
“To have him call within seconds of mission success is incredible,” Bridenstine said.
The InSight lander is the first American spacecraft to touch down on the red planet since 2012.
The mission was designed to help scientists study Mars from the inside out. The information gathered could provide a greater understanding of how Mars and Earth formed as rocky planets 4.5 billion years ago and why they turned out so different.
Kelly Beatty, space reporter and senior contributing editor of Sky & Telescope magazine. He tweets @nightskyguy.
This article was originally published on November 26, 2018.
This segment aired on November 26, 2018.