NASA has landed a spacecraft on Mars for the eighth time in history. No other nation has landed on Mars, so it's a pretty BFD.

InSight, or Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, which launched on May 5 ,will spend the next two years exploring the red planet's interior in an effort to learn about its history.

Accompanied by two so-called cube satellites, InSight traveled a mind-blowing 301 million miles at a top speed of 6,200 miles per hour. Upon landing on Mars, the suitcase-sized space probe sent a signal to NASA that it had arrived safely.

If we could just train our kids to do that.

After being bested by the Russians, who were the first to launch into space, the American space program has been unmatched in its accomplishments. Learning about Mars will allow humans to someday inhabit the red planet, and plans are already underway to make the moon a stop along the way.

America's superiority in space is a source of great pride, but is also a wonderful opportunity to learn about how to survive here on earth. Space exploration got a bad rap after several missteps with the shuttle program. The program is back on track, and I look forward to learning more about the secrets of the final frontier.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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