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Cosmic Musings Presentation - Insight Mission to Mars: Early Results by Dr. Mark Panning
January 28th, 2019 7:30pm
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The InSight mission (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) landed on Mars on November 26, 2018. Launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, InSight is the first Mars mission focused on the planet’s deep interior, and it’s also the first mission to robotically deploy geophysical instruments on Mars’ surface. In the long term, the science of this mission will come from monitoring the seismometer and heat flow probe on the planet’s surface, and by precision radio tracking over the two-year duration of the mission. In this talk, Dr Mark Panning of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will review the planned science to be accomplished during the mission, and present the progress we’ve made towards this goal.


Dr. Mark Panning has had a long focus on determining the interior structure of the Earth and other planetary bodies. After completing his Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on modeling 3D structure of the Earth’s mantle using seismic tomography, he stayed on at Berkeley to do postdoctoral research extending seismic approaches to modeling how to use potential seismic data from Europa.


After spending several years on the faculty of the University of Florida,dividing his research between terrestrial and planetary seismology interest, he came to JPL in 2017 to focus on planetary applications of seismology.





Dr. Mark Panning (left)
Dr. Mark Panning is a co-Investigator on the InSight mission to Mars, and has also worked on modeling possible seismic signals on Europa, Titan, Enceladus and other icy ocean worlds, and is deeply interested in any way to get seismic data back from other planetary bodies.

InSight First Selfie (right)
This is NASA InSight's first full selfie on Mars. It displays the lander's solar panels and deck. On top of the deck are its science instruments, weather sensor booms and UHF antenna. The selfie was taken on Dec. 6, 2018 (sol 10). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Header Image: An artist illustration of the InSight lander on Mars.. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



Check-in and the Café at the End of the Universe open at 6:00 p.m. The Observatory will be closed to the general public, and the only area/exhibits inside the building open to ticketed guests is in the immediate vicinity of the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. The presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. The Stellar Emporium will be closed.




Reservations are required to access event parking and enter Griffith Observatory. In the case of sold-out shows, ticket sales will close. Non-wait list tickets not picked up by 7:40 p.m. will be made available to wait-listed guests. The event wait list may be joined by emailing, including the number of seats requested and a full name for the reservation. Wait list tickets are sold at the door, cash (exact change) only. No refunds are available. All registration closes January 28, 4:00 p.m.

If your membership has lapsed or you would like to become a FOTO member, renew or join easily on-line at For event or membership questions, please send an email to Marc at or call 213.473.0879.


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