Viewing party gives campus a chance to witness NASA make history

The Natural Science Club gave the CSC campus and Chadron community the opportunity to witness the NASA InSight Mission landing on Mars at the Landing Party, Monday, at CSC’s Planetarium.

“This is such a monumental occasion for Mars and, not just Mars, but [to find out] how our own planet was created,” Kinsley Mason, 23, graduate student of Loveland, Colorado, said. “…[T]his is the first time that NASA has been able to place a lander on Mars to explore the interior.”

An article in the New York Times said InSight has been journeying to Mars for the past six months and will include a seismometer and a heat probe. The seismometer will be used to measure “marsquakes” and learn about the interior of Mars.

The insight that InSight will provide can give scientists a look at what Earth may have looked like “tens of millions of years after it formed,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator of the mission.

“It’s kind of like a little time machine that’s allowing us to look back in time and explore how our solar system is formed,” Mason said.

Jennifer Balmat, physical and life sciences instructor; Michael Leite, physical and life sciences professor; and Mason planned the viewing party after seeing the opportunity in the Planetarium at CSC, located in the Math and Science Building. About 40 people attended the event and the Natural Science Club provided pizza to those who came.

Now that InSight has landed on Mars, it will do system checks to ensure that the instruments it will be using are intact and ready for use, said Mason. InSight will remain on Mars for two years.

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