Pittsburgh Celebrates As Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars

At the Carnegie Science Center, kids from across western Pennsylvania virtually watched a successful landing. KDKA's Nicole Ford has more.

Video Transcript

- Touchdown confirmed. After a seven-month journey, NASA's Perseverance Rover has made it to Mars.

- Yeah, this mission is just the first step in collecting new data to be brought back to Earth. Nicole Ford is live with how people in our area watched this moment in history. Nicole.

NICOLE FORD: Ken, Christine, it's the first time a rover has touched down on Mars in nearly a decade. People across our area waited and hoped for that perfect landing. This big step in science could serve as an inspiration for future scientists.

- And we are so excited. We are watching NASA TV right now as the Perseverance Rover makes its way to the planet Mars.

NICOLE FORD: Hundreds of people tuned in to Carnegie Science Center this afternoon.

MIKE HENNESSY: This is Mars Day. This is the day that the NASA Perseverance Rover is landing on Mars.

NICOLE FORD: Virtually, kids across Western Pennsylvania watched a successful landing just before 4:00 in the afternoon.

MIKE HENNESSY: Today's landing on Mars will absolutely inspire kids to grow up and become tomorrow's scientists and STEM professionals, future astronauts, future robotics engineers, who send other missions to Mars.

NICOLE FORD: While this mission is centered around collecting samples to see if there is life on Mars, it's not the first trip to the red planet.

SCOTT MORELAND: College I saw the Mars Exploration Rovers, the twins Spirit and Opportunity, you know, land on Mars and was inspired by that. Somewhat by, I would say, the cool factor.

NICOLE FORD: That cool factor led Scott Moreland to Carnegie Mellon University. Now he's watching as this rover he helped design takes a step towards the future.

SCOTT MORELAND: The first mission I worked on where I actually contributed directly to the design, you know, in the build of the hardware. And it is exciting to know that the part that touches down on the surface is the wheels and that's the big part that I contribute to.

NICOLE FORD: While Moreland watched from California his fellow CMU alum and CEO of Astrobotic cheered his team on from Pittsburgh.

JOHN THORNTON: I'm so excited for him and everything that he's accomplished and I'm sure he will be sitting in on our moon landing at some point in the near future. So it's great that we're able to trade these space missions together.

NICOLE FORD: The landing is just the first step. If this rover is able to get good samples on Mars, those samples will then be brought back to Earth in another mission to be studied. Reporting live on the North Side, Nicole Ford, KDKA News.

- So exciting. Thank you, Nicole.