New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Experience the Mars InSight Landing at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

November 13, 2018


(Albuquerque, New Mexico) NASA exploration landings on Mars are always exciting events, and the next one will touchdown on November 26, 2018. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science will host a landing party that day from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Learn about the latest mission to study the interior of Mars during a live NASA broadcast. Mars-related hands-on activities, videos, and local solar system experts will also be available.

Mars InSight will arrive on Mars at around 1 p.m. MST on November 26. The lander will plunge through the thin Martian atmosphere, heatshield first, and land on the smooth plains of Elysium Planitia. The entry, descent, and landing sequence break down into three parts:

  • Entry - The spacecraft is controlled by small rockets during descent through the Martian atmosphere, toward the surface.

  • Parachute Descent - The InSight spacecraft slows by a large parachute, jettisons its heat shield and extends its three shock-absorbing legs.

  • Powered Descent - Once the lander separates from its backshell and parachute, 12 descent engines on the lander begin firing and the onboard guidance software slows down the spacecraft until touchdown.

InSight will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all rocky planets, including Earth and its Moon, formed. The lander’s instruments include a seismometer to detect Mars quakes and a probe to monitor the flow of heat in the planet’s subsurface. Learn more on the mission website:

Larry Crumpler has worked as the planning lead for the Opportunity Rover for the past 15 years, but that is only the latest Mars mission he and his wife, Jayne Aubele, have participated in going all the way back to the first landing on Mars of the Viking probe. These planetary geologists will be available at table displays to answer any question about Mars or the InSight mission. Joining them will be two local NASA Solar System Ambassadors: Leonard Duda and John Brandt.

NASA has scheduled live coverage of the landing from noon to 1:30 p.m. This will be shown in the ViewSpace Theater, but during a break in the planetarium show schedule starting shortly before 1 p.m., the broadcast will also be available in the planetarium. In addition to the live broadcasts and expert tables, videos and educational activities about Mars can be enjoyed in the museum atrium.

Everything is included in museum or planetarium admission that day. Mission landings on Mars can only occur every two years at the most since that is when the Red Planet and ours are in the position to offer favorable trajectories. Don’t miss this historic event!

Images: Courtesy NASA

Link to NASA Insight Multimedia Images:


About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science: Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Museum is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and new year’s day. 1801 Mountain Road NW, northeast of Historic Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque, NM 87104, (505) 841-2800.  Events, news releases and images about activities at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and other divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

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