VESTAL (WBNG) – It was an exciting day for astronomers, as NASA's Insight spacecraft made a historic landing on Mars on Monday.
Millions of people across the country saw spacecraft landing on the red planet, even on the South Level.
A surveillance party was held at the Kopernik Observatory and the Science Center in Vestal for the people of our community.
"This is very exciting, this is the most recent mission to Mars since 2012 since 'Curiosity', the very large rover, landed," said Drew Deskur, executive director of the Kopernik Observatory.
The event attracted space lovers from all over New York, including Nicholas Apostoleris and his family, who traveled from Lima to see the live landing of Mars.
"We have been following Insight for weeks and we said, you know, this is worth a day out of school and half a day away from work and we head down and experience the thrill of a successful landing," said Apostoleris.
Experts say that while it is fun to observe the exploration of space, there is always the risk that something goes wrong.
The pressure was felt during the moments before the landing, known by astronomers as the "seven minutes of terror."
"More than half of the missions to Mars have failed after landing," Deskur said. "We will not know until seven minutes after Insight has landed safely because radio waves, which move at the speed of light, take seven minutes to return to Earth," Deskur said.
Some of those who attended the event admitted that they were nervous waiting for the ship to land.
"I was quite tense about it, there was a lot on the line and it seems that it went very well," said Apostoleris.
After seeing the successful landing, attendees were able to observe NASA's artifact display at the observatory. Among them, a 3D mural of Mars where people can learn the history of the exploration of the planet.
Attendees at the Kopernick Observatory also learned more about making the Insight spacecraft.
The observatory says it hopes the landing will inspire future astronomers in our area.
"We hope to thrill the children in high school at this time because they will be the first to go to Mars," said Deskur.
Insight will be the first spacecraft to study the geology of Mars.