‘Touchdown confirmed’ for Mars mission


National News

November 28, 2018 - 9:42 AM

Engineers of the flight team react as the first image is beamed back after the successful landing of the NASA InSight spacecraft in Pasadena Monday. Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. — After traveling 300 million miles through the solar system, NASA’s InSight spacecraft descended through the Martian sky Monday and touched down safely on the smooth surface of Elysium Planitia shortly before noon.

The news elicited cheers, high-fives and fist-bumps from the scientists and engineers assembled at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge. It means that the two-year mission to study the inside of Mars — formally called Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — is a go.

“Touchdown confirmed,” mission commentator Christine Szalai announced at 11:54 a.m.

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