Virginia Tech professor to analyze data from NASA's Mars landing

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) When NASA's InSight Lander touched down on Mars earlier this week, it was a historic moment for science. It was also a milestone for one of hometown teacher.

A professor of Geoscience at Virginia Tech is heading up one of the teams that will analyze the data taken from the InSight lander.

On Monday, history was made with the landing of the InSight spacecraft on Mars. The people in NASA's control room weren't the only ones cheering.

"To see it finally coming together is really exciting," King said.

He studies the interiors of planets and has looked deep below earth's surface.

Now has his sights set on Mars.

"One of the things I'm doing is taking some models and putting together a best guess of the composition of Mars."

He's leading one of the teams that will analyze Mars's core.

"Being a part of a mission is a really exciting experience for a scientist," he said. "To be able to be a part of it, even in a small way even, is really kind of amazing."

He's looking forward to unearthing more secrets from the universe.

"There's so much more that we really don't know and understand that well. I think there's a lot of surprises left to be discovered."

King said he thinks it'll be about three months before he sees any of InSight's data. This particular NASA project is a two-year mission, but King says the information they discover now will be used for decades of study in the future.