Countdown to Perseverance’s Mars Landing

The Red Planet's latest robot visitor

The excitement of space travel is among us as virtual activities and events kick off as the Perseverance rover nears entry on the Red Planet, with touchdown scheduled for 19 Friday 2021 around 8:00 AM (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

Live coverage and landing commentary from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California will begin two hours before the landing on the NASA TV Public Channel and the agency’s website, as well as the NASA App, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and THETA.TV.

Although maybe don’t rely on Facebook if you’re in Australia right now.

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that landing on Mars is never easy, But as NASA’s fifth Mars rover, Perseverance has an extraordinary engineering pedigree and mission team. We are excited to invite the entire world to share this exciting event with us!”

– Marc Etkind, NASA Associate Administrator for Communications

Among the many firsts with this mission is the agency’s first-ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing. An hour and a half before landing, NASA will air “Juntos perseveramos”, a show that will give viewers an overview of the mission to Mars and highlight the role Hispanic NASA professionals have had in its success.

During landing, the rover will plunge through the thin Martian atmosphere at more than 20 000 KMph. A parachute and powered descent will slow the rover down to about 3 KMph. During what is known as the sky crane maneuver, the descent stage will lower the rover on three cables to land softly on six wheels at Jezero Crater.

Perseverance also is carrying a technology experiment – the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.