HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The theater at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration was thick with anticipation as the InSight lander descended onto Mars.
And at first it didn't seem like a party at all, but as soon as the NASA dispatcher confirmed a successful landing, the crowd erupted with cheer.
One of the InSight team scientists said there's a valid reason for that reaction.
"Landing on Mars is a hard thing to do, so the fact that we were able to do it successfully," said Renee Weber. "To execute our exit, descent, and landing completely, textbook, perfect and get that first image back at the surface to show us, 'this is Mars, this is where we are, we're ready to go, ready to deploy those instruments and start doing science.'"
The Davidson Center hosted games, activities and science experiments for the children in attendance.
Volunteers said they wanted to come out and get the youth more excited about STEM and science.
They said the more kids they can get excited about STEM now, the better chances they have of going into that field later in life.
And there were children of all ages, seated front and center for the landing.
One young guest said she didn't know a lot about InSight but she learned a lot at the event.
"I guess I liked the picture when they landed. It took me a minute to figure out what it was, but I guess I really liked that."
According to Weber, the InSight Lander will survey Mars for two years. Scientists are hoping to uncover more about the evolution of the red planet by digging into its core.