I have seen that many NASA employees (see the picture) were present in the control room when InSight landed on Mars on November 26, 2018.

What I did not see is what exactly those people saw on their monitors while the lander came down and finally touched the ground.

Are there on the net some examples of screens, or videos, that present to the NASA operator the telemetry data coming from Mars during a landing operation?

enter image description here Waiting for touchdown.

  • $\begingroup$ It is possible that telemetry data was not transmitted continously during all phases of entry to marsian atmosphere and landing, especially during the hot phase of entry requiring a heatshield. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Dec 5, 2018 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ They would have been seeing different things, depending on their role $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Dec 5, 2018 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


Those people in the control room just see various things on their screens (see the attached image). It is quite evident that not all the monitors show the same data.

enter image description here NASA JPL Mission Control Room, shortly after a woman said "Touchdown confirmed." Watch this video, especially after minute 53.

However, it is a bit baffling that immediately, seconds after the moment a voice said "Touchdown confirmed", most of the people demobilized, left their sits and never returned to their computers.

It would have been more logical to rise their hands, applaud, stand up (manifest their joy) for a few moments but after that they should have returned in front of the monitors had they really supervised data sent by InSight.

What if something bad had happened minutes after the landing like a minor fault in the beginning that would have slowly evolved in a catastrophic failure unless a prompt command from earth had fix the problem?!

It looks to me that most of those people there were a kind of extras. They had no real role in controlling and supervising InSight.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! I like your answer, and I also think your question is interesting! However, in Stack Exchange we keep questions and answers separate. Why don't you copy the question part (the part below the line) into a new question post instead, that way people will be able to post new answers to it. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 6, 2018 at 1:27
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    $\begingroup$ With a Mars EDL, its all over before the data starts to arrive. Once the lander is on the ground, and it has safed itself, almost everyone in that team was extra to requirements - they'll be working on something else now. What do you expect the parachute team to be worrying about? Even while the celebrations were going on the communications team received the data from the ICC, and another team processed it to produce the image $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Dec 6, 2018 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ "It looks to me that most of those people there were a kind of extras. They had no real role in controlling and supervising InSight." This appears to be a baseless statement. $\endgroup$
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 6, 2018 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ to an extent it's true @ceejayoz - once it landed most of the people there had no further role in controlling and supervising InSight. $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ @JCRM Agreed - they're rightfully celebrating a job well done. Given the "should have returned in front of the monitors" and "What if something bad had happened minutes after the landing" criticisms in this answer I suspect that distinction is lost on the poster. $\endgroup$
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 6, 2018 at 17:02

Here is one example (this is ESA actually), I am sure there will be others posted.

This is a 2D histogram for the ExoMars Schiaparelli Lander, Schiaparelli’s UHF Signal captured by GMRT prior to Entry – Photo: ESA Data was received from the Giant Metre Wave Telescope in India. See Was the time of Schiaparelli's landing chosen specifically so the Giant Meter Wave Radiotelescope could listen?

Source: Spaceflight 101's ExoMars Orbiter Captured in Mars Orbit, Schiaparelli Lander falls silent before Touchdown

enter image description here

This answer to the question Why will radioastronomy telescopes be used to listen to InSight's entry into Mars' atmosphere instead of DSN? mentions that a similar check was done for direct measurement of InSight, as well as for Curiosity/MSL. No doubt at least some people would have been watching their screens for confirmation of the existence of a prompt landing signal, or a sudden change the rate of change of its Doppler shift.


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