NASA Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars Today – How To Watch
NASA is calling today's rover landing on Mars "Seven Minutes of Terror", and for good reason. It's completely out of their control.
The 5th rover mission to Mars is set to land on the red planet this afternoon and involves a lot of firsts. The mission left Earth by way of a Saturn 5 rocket on July 30th, 2020, and over the last several months has traveled 292.5 million miles at 50,000 miles per hour. This afternoon several very specific functions will have to happen perfectly for the Perseverance rover to successfully land on Mars.
Here's the general outline of what's coming up. The spacecraft will transition from cruise mode to entry mode, then descent mode. After utilizing the heat shield as it enters Mars' atmosphere it will deploy parachutes to further slow its descent, then finally booster rockets will fire on the descent vehicle and a skycrane will gently lower the Perseverance to the surface of the planet. If all goes as planned that touchdown will be at a speed of about 2 miles per hour.
Of course all of this takes place in about seven minutes and without any input from the crews on the ground at NASA. To add to the stress, it takes eleven minutes for the telemetry data to travel from Mars to Earth so by the time the data comes to ground control it will have already happened on Mars. No wonder they're calling it "Seven Minutes of Terror."
The live coverage is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. Eastern time, that's about 1:15 p.m. our time.