Thanks to Buzz reader and frequent space contributor, Linda Sanoff of Hancock Park, we have photos of NASA’s InSight Mars Lander crossing the early morning sky over our neighborhoods.
“It was certainly exciting listening to NASA live TV and hearing the countdown to the launch and standing in the middle of Rosewood at McCadden with not a sole around BUT this was no SpaceX viewing,” said Sanoff who shared her early morning photos with the Buzz regretting they weren’t more dramatic. But they document historic firsts.
The launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying the InsSight Mars lander lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base 4:05 a.m. PDT. This is the first interplanetary mission NASA launched from the west coast instead of Florida’s Cape Kennedy Space Center and the first launch since the Mars rover was launched from the west coast in 2011.
InSight is the first outer space robotic explorer to study the interior of Mars. According to NASA the mission of the lander is to look deep beneath the Martian surface. It will study the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listen for marsquakes. The spacecraft will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior. The resulting insight into Mars’ formation will provide a better understanding of how other rocky planets, including Earth, were created.
Thanks to Linda for getting up so early to capture these images and share them with us.