NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover: Schedule, How Mission Begins, How to Stream
|An illustration of NASA's Perseverance rover landing on the Red Planet. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech).|
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet today (Feb. 18) at 3:55 p.m. EST (2055 GMT) — or at least that's when NASA will find out if it landed, according to Space.
But by the time Earthlings hear from Perseverance for the first time since the landing attempt, the rover will have already spent at least 11 minutes hanging out on the surface of Mars. That's because it currently takes radio signals about 11 minutes, 22 seconds to travel between Earth and Mars, NASA said in a statement.
So, Perseverance's actual ETA, the time that it is supposed to land in Jezero Crater, is 3:44 p.m. EST (2044 GMT). But we won't know the exact time of landing — or whether the rover arrived intact — until 11 minutes, 22 seconds after the fact.
You can watch the Mars landing live here and on Space.com's homepage, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT). The landing is expected at 3:55 p.m. EST (2055 GMT).
How NASA’s Perseverance Rover Will Begin Its Mission
On a space mission, timing is everything. An intricate choreography of commands and actions is required to make any such mission a success, and none more so than an escapade on the surface of another world, according to Scientific American.
Now, on February 18, NASA is set for another delicate dance of interplanetary chronology when its Perseverance rover touches down on Mars—the successor to its aesthetically identical sibling, Curiosity, which landed in 2012. This time around, the mission is conducting a search for past life on Mars, alongside other exciting experiments.
The 1,025-kilogram rover is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, fueled by heat from decaying plutonium, which should help it avoid a dust-laden fate such as prematurely ended the missions of its solar-powered predecessors Opportunity and Spirit; but getting up and running as soon as possible after the landing is still crucial. The rover has an ambitious amount of science to conduct in its primary mission lasting one Martian year (two Earth years). And, although its mission is likely to be extended, given the overwhelming richness of its landing site in the ancient Martian river delta within Jezero Crater, scientists are eager to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.
Before they can get down to that urgent business, however, Perseverance needs to first endure its autonomous seven-minute descent to the surface—known as the “seven minutes of terror”—and then check its vital organs are in working order as well as launch a first-of-its kind attempt at aerial flight. Suffice to say, the busy rover’s schedule is positively jam-packed. Interplanetary mission timings are always subject to change depending on how things progress, of course, but a timeline is already in place for Perseverance’s first 100 days on Mars. (Note, a day on Mars is about 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.)
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|An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover at work within Mars’ Jezero Crater. Credit: NASA and JPL-Caltech|
How to watch NASA's Perseverance rover land on Mars
NASA is inviting the world to tune in to its countdown and landing commentary, which will stream live beginning on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Tune in via NASA's public TV channel, website, app, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion or THETA.TV.
In a first, the agency will also offer a Spanish language show for the landing.
During the landing coverage, NASA's mission control team will be able to confirm whether the rover safely landed on the surface of Mars.
NASA's live landing broadcast on Thursday begins at 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT). You'll be able to watch that live here and on Space.com's homepage, courtesy of NASA, or directly from NASA's YouTube channel. Spanish speakers will have another broadcast available on a NASA Spanish channel in what will be the agency's first Spanish-language landing show. You can ask questions on any of NASA's social media feeds (@NASA) using the hashtag #CountdowntoMars.
Thursday, Feb. 18 (landing day) and beyond
Landing day webcasts on NASA TV/JPL YouTube
• 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT): NASA Mars rover Perseverance landing webcast begins
• 2:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT): NASA's Spanish-language Perseverance landing webcast begins
• 3:55 p.m. EST (2055 GMT): LANDING TIME for Mars rover Perseverance
• Around 5:30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT): Post landing press conference.
Post-landing update briefings NASA TV/JPL YouTube
• Friday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT): Perseverance rover update.
• Monday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT): Perseverance rover update.
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