Well the big day is finally here! After months and months of travel from Earth the InSight lander is now poised to enter the martian atmosphere and touch down on the dusty surface. It’s packed with science tools and equipment that will (hopefully) send back interesting data about the inner workings of the planet… but first it has to stick its landing.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is ready and waiting for the lander to make its appearance in the martian skies, which it is scheduled to do at approximately 3 p.m. ET today. NASA will use the event as an opportunity for a live stream, and you can watch it all right here.
The landing will be streamed live on NASA’s official YouTube presence. The window below is counting down the seconds until the landing coverage right now and will switch over to live coverage from NASA’s JPL mission control shortly before InSight begins its descent.
Now, it’s important to note that we won’t actually get a live video feed from the InSight lander itself, and neither will NASA’s engineers and controllers. What we’ll see is the mission control room along with all the graphs and statistics that show where the lander is and what it’s doing.
NASA will be providing commentary so that we can understand how things are going, and when the lander makes a successful touchdown you can bet you’ll see a whole lot of cheering and happy faces.
It might not sound all that difficult to shoot a robot towards something as large as a planet but a successful landing is incredibly complicated to nail. The angle of approach and speed are huge factors in ensuring a safe touchdown, and the roughly seven-minute window between InSight’s entry into Mars’ atmosphere and the actual touchdown are going to be incredibly tense. Enjoy the show!