Anxiety, elation: NASA scientists erupt in cheers as spacecraft lands on Mars
On Monday, NASA celebrated the successful journey of a lander on Mars.
The lander — called InSight — touched down on Martian sole after a journey of over 300 million miles from Earth to Mars, the AP reported.
The goal is to have InSight dig 16 feet under the soil to gather more information about the innerworkings of the planet, including its inner temperature and the frequency and strength of earthquakes, per AP.
Its landing was a stressful event for scientists, according to the AP. The US is the only country to succesfully land an operable rover on Mars — and the country has failed only once in nine attempts to do just that.
“Landing on Mars is one of the hardest single jobs that people have to do in planetary exploration,” InSight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, told The Associated Press. “It’s such a difficult thing, it’s such a dangerous thing that there’s always a fairly uncomfortably large chance that something could go wrong.”
Yet while NASA celebrated, others took to Twitter to crack some jokes about the historic occurence.
Many joked about Matt Damon, who starred in the movie “The Martian” as a stranded astronaut on the dry red planet.
While others wondered what the Martians might think of us if they saw the lander on their planet.
And some were just glad to have a reason to celebrate.