After traveling for seven months, it all comes down to the final seven minutes.
If all goes according to plan, NASA’s most sophisticated rover sent to Mars yet, named Perseverance, should touch down on the red planet in search of signs of ancient life on Thursday.
The historic mission has been a decade in the making, and the six-wheeled vehicle has traveled 293 million miles over the past seven months. Yet the success of the journey through space hinges on the last few minutes when Perseverance enters and descends through the Martian atmosphere before landing on the planet’s surface, which is often referred to as “seven minutes of terror” while ground controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. anxiously wait for a radio signal confirming a successful landing.
Perseverance should land around 3:55 p.m. ET, although viewing and live-streaming options will launch a couple of hours ahead of time. Here’s how to tune into the historic event.
The NASA JPL Edu YouTube channel is offering a “Landing Day Live Stream for Students” at 12:30 p.m. EST.