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‘Yay, I made it!’ – GBT monitors successful InSight Mars landing


The Pocahontas Times

Broadcasting from the Green Bank Telescope control room, Toney Minter, head of GBT operations, explains what the GBT monitored during the InSight Mars landing Monday. At left, doctoral student Rachel Slank shared a slide and described what the monitors in the control room would show during the landing.
(Pocahontas Times photo by Suzanne Stewart)

GREEN BANK, W.Va. — Five months and 21 days after it was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the InSight robot successfully landed on the Elysium Planitia near the equator of Mars.

While NASA was unable to witness the landing, the Green Bank Telescope saw it all and monitored the landing during the “seven minutes of terror” – the time between the final descent and the transmission from the robot.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, the Green Bank Observatory held an InSight Landing Party which included activities, video feed from the GBT control room and a presentation titled “A Look Inside the Red Planet: the InSight Mission,” by Rachel Slank, a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas.

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