Six years have passed since NASA’s Curiosity Rover touched down on Mars and today yet another slice of Earth will join Mars as the InSight probe prepares to land.

NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport lander – or InSight for short – is scheduled to touch down on Mars at 15:00 EST today.

The probe left Earth on 5th May and is followed by NASA’s Mars Cube One or MarCO satellites. These two CubeSats are the first to fly through deep space and will allow NASA to quickly transmit data from the landing to mission control on Earth, if they work of course.

The video below explains the importance of these two satellites.

InSight is headed to Mars to examine the interior of the planet and gain a better understanding of how Earth and the Moon were formed.

“When it comes to rocky planets, we’ve studied only one in detail: Earth. By comparing Earth’s interior to that of Mars, InSight’s team members hope to better understand our solar system. What they learn might even aid the search for Earth-like exoplanets, narrowing down which ones might be able to support life. So while InSight is a Mars mission, it’s also much more than a Mars mission,” wrote NASA in a statement about the landing.

So where can you watch NASA attempt to land InSight?

The space organisation will be streaming the event live on a number of channels including:

Coverage of the landing starts at around 11AM PT, which is 9PM here is South Africa, the landing itself is schedule to happen at around about an hour later.

We’re holding thumbs that NASA’s mission goes well and that yet another piece of Earth makes it to our red neighbour safely.

 

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Kevin Gill]