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Today is a big day for the engineering teams at NASA. After a 7 month journey through the solar system, Mars rover Perseverance will touch down on the red planet. At this point, the rover will be on Mars by the end of the day but the hope is that it will be a soft landing (less than 3 mph). Touchdown is expected at 3:55 pm ET. Don’t miss it! You can watch on the NASA website.

After years of planning, design, fabrication, and launch it’s been a waiting game and it all comes down to “7 minutes of terror” when the rover is completely on its own and must make all of the decisions of where to land without guidance from Earth. Due to the transmission delay of 11 minutes the rover will have landed by the time we even hear that it is making its final approach.

Mark Rober, a popular YouTube creator and former engineer with NASA’s jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has put out a great video highlighting his experience years ago working on the last rover mission to Mars and provides a glimpse into the process and effort that a mission of this magnitude requires. Give it a watch!

Potential path of the rover after landing
Image by NASA and J.P.L.