Welcome to your new home on Mars, InSight ❤️
Yesterday was a big one for the people of Spaceship Earth: Just before noon PST, @nasa ’s InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars—only the eighth mission to ever do so in human history.
We were fortunate enough to be at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as, together, scientists, engineers, journalists, reporters, family, friends and, yes, even one marine biologist, held their breath while we waited to hear if the million things that needed to go right to land on Mars did.
We’ll never forget the hopeful, heavy silence that blanketed the auditorium during those seven minutes of terror. And we’ll never forget the eruption of pure joy, relief and awe from every scientist, engineer, journalist, reporter, family, friend and, yes, even this marine biologist, that followed.
As we look up from our tide pool to the stars and back again today, we celebrate the courage, perseverance and indomitable curiosity of the human spirit to adventure among the cosmos and to answer the existential questions of what it is to be an Earthling.
We didn’t know if InSight would make it. Fewer than half of all missions to Mars have. Ken Smith, a senior scientist over at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institue (@mbari-blog) has a favorite saying when we build and deploy new tools to study our ocean home:
“Don’t put something in the deep sea if you’re not okay with losing it.”
We have a feeling @nasajpl can sympathize 😅
And yet, we continue. Our curiosity pushes boundaries, here on Earth and beyond. We dream big, and we hope even bigger. We “dare mighty things” because the risk is always greater than the reward.
After 162 days of screaming through space at nearly 13,000 miles per hour, InSight’s destiny has arrived and its mission can begin. This lander will study the interior of our red neighbor for the first time, and in so doing will help us shed light on just how exactly our own water world came to be.
InSight is a beautiful example of what it means to be human: We are the universe attempting to know itself. From our deep sea MARS (Monterey Accelerated Research System) Observatory in our backyard, to our closest interplanetary neighbor, to in-fin-ity and beyond, every day we celebrate the work we humans do to learn, to understand and to protect.
Yesterday, we were all astronautiluses.
Congratulations again to all involved, and good luck in your new home InSight! We look forward to your transmissions.
Your family on the pale blue dot suspended in a sunbeam