Everything You Need to Know About Streaming NASA’s Mars Landing Today

InSight Touchdown

Illustration of NASA's In Sight lander about to land on the surface of Mars

When it lands 6-1/2 minutes later, it will be travelling a mere 5 miles per hour (8 kph).

This is going to be tense.

Curiosity, Opportunity and Spirit have already provided scientists with a wealth of data on Mars from samples collected on the planet's surface, revealing the composition of its minerals and showing that the planet might have been capable of supporting life in the distant past.

A further three achieved orbit but failed to land. What's more, the current light travel time between Mars and Earth - the time it takes any signal sent from Mars to reach us here on Earth - is eight minutes seven seconds.

The odds are in NASA's favor, but it will be some time until the world finds out whether the landing is successful. However, a high-speed crash remains a risk.

NASA's InSight lander is about to touch down and will immediately begin to decipher the secrets that lie beneath the Martian soil.

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Space Center Houston is hosted a watch party at 1601 NASA Parkway in Houston where visitors will be able to view the events as they occur.

An artist's concept released by NASA illustrates the InSight spacecraft approaching Mars. Radio signals confirming the landing took more than eight minutes to cross the almost 100 million miles between Mars and Earth. If InSight comes into too shallow, the spacecraft could skip off the thin atmosphere, and an entry angle that is too steep would produce too much thermal heating. After getting that radar signal, it separated from the remaining shell and parachute, firing its descent engines known as retrorockets to help slow it down even more.

InSight was shooting for Elysium Planitia, a plain near the Martian equator that the InSight team hopes is as flat as a parking lot in Kansas with few, if any, rocks. However, dust storms are common in this area. Finally, by March 2, all of the lander's instruments will reach their science-taking configurations, and the real Martian geology will begin.

InSight and MarCO flight controllers will monitor the spacecraft's entry, descent and landing (EDL) from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Mars has been the graveyard for a multitude of space missions.

InSight is created to detect Marsquakes.

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MarCO is a small spacecraft that's flying to Mars with InSight.

France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) made the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, the key element for sensing quakes.

Mars Insight's goal is listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet's inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago, and by extension, how other rocky planets like Earth took shape. The lander will be broadcasting information during entry, descent and landing in the UHF band to NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which can not simultaneously receive in one band and transmit in another.

NASA's last Martian landfall took place with the Curiosity rover in 2012, so interest in the mission was heating up, with viewing parties planned at museums, planetariums and libraries across the US. However, NASA's Opportunity rover, which landed in 2004, looks to have finished its mission after engineers lost contact with it in August 2018. Scientists will use the data to determine the size of the Mar's iron-rich core as well what other elements may be present.

What will happen during Mars landing?

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