People gather at UAF for NASA's Insight Lander touch down on Mars

Published: Nov. 26, 2018 at 9:48 PM AKST
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NASA's Insight Lander touched down on the surface of Mars earlier today.

People from around the world watched as NASA's spacecraft 'InSight' made it's landing on the surface of Mars on Monday after traveling for nearly seven months and over 300 million miles. In Fairbanks, members of the community gathered at the West Ridge Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to take part in this momentous occasion.

"So today we are having a viewing party for the NASA's site module, which is hopefully landing right about now on Mars. And we thought that it would be a fun way working in science outreach to bring together the public for something that's not only an exciting accomplishment for humanity, never mind NASA," Tania Clucus with UAF said.

The area which the space craft landed is called Elysium Planitia, also known as the "Biggest parking lot on Mars."With only 40 percent of missions landing successfully on Mars, the InSight Spacecraft landing on the Red planet places it into an elite category of survivors.

"We're one little blue dot alone in our solar system, and then our solar system is part of a larger galaxy, which is part of a larger universe. And so being able to not just explore our own planet, but being able to go out and explore other planets within our solar system," she said.

InSight is designed to map the inside of Mars in three dimensions and to give a better understanding of the surface. By studying the deep interior of the planet, they can learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including the Earth and the moon, were formed.

Along with InSight, additional satellites named Mars Cube One are being used to test a new kind of data relay from another planet for the first time.

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