One Exchange Participant’s First Encounter with NASA’s InSight Mission
By: Mio Ishihara, Greenheart Exchange Career Advancement Program Participant
May 5th, 2018: NASA’s InSight Mission took place at Lompoc Valley, California. took place at Lompoc Valley, California.
Before that day, I didn’t know about the InSight mission, which is the first outer space robotic explorer to do an in-depth study of the “inner space” of Mars.
I went to Lompoc Airport with my colleagues and an astrophysicist. According to the astrophysicist, NASA’s launches to Mars usually take place from the east coast because of the Earth’s rotation. Therefore, I thought this would be something great to experience in California, even though the probability of seeing the launch was only twenty percent.
The launch was at 4:05 A.M. I met up with my coworkers and friends the night before to head to Lompoc Airport together. During the drive, everyone seemed sleepy but excited. The astrophysicist explained information about InSight, Mars, space, aliens, and more.
We arrived at the airport at 2:00 A.M., and there were already lines of cars! There were a few tents for promotions and demonstrations, along with TV crews. We parked and prepared to see the launch. As the launch time approached, everyone began to feel more and more excited.
And finally, the time came at 4:05 A.M.
Nothing happened…. No flash. No sound. Only a dark black sky.
At that moment, we heard low sounds from miles away. Everyone raised their voices in delight!
InSight flew towards Mars, taking off for 6 months. Although, we could not see anything, we felt InSight’s presence. This was such an interesting experience for me. If I have a chance to see another launch, I would try again!
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