Locals watch Mars landing at Fleet Science Center

SAN DIEGO -- People gathered at the Balboa Park Fleet Science Center to watch NASA's InSight spacecraft make its precarious landing on Mars.  

The science center live-streamed the mission as seen from inside a NASA control room.

"I always tear up a little, actually," said resident astronomer Lisa Will.  "We tend to think of this as a successful spacecraft, but you see all the people in the room and you know there are hundreds of people who have dedicated so much of their life to getting this mission to work."

InSight was the first interplanetary launch from the West Coast, according to Wills. It blasted off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in May, and this mission is the first of its kind.

"We’ve sent previous geology missions, but those are focused on the surface. This one’s trying to get down to  the heart of Mars and understand what’s going on in its interior," Wills said.

Crowds cheered and applauded when the the spacecraft safely landed on Mars. Among the spectators at the science center was a family and their five-year-old visiting San Diego from Hawaii.

"Space and the solar system is his passion, so we wanted to be here to watch it live at the space center," Cindy Fox told Fox 5.

InSight will conduct a two-year mission, NASA said.