NASA To Explore Mars If Robot Can Survive 'Seven Minutes Of Terror'
After a six-month, 480-million kilometre journey, NASA's InSight is about make its grand entrance at Mars.
It's been six years since Mars had a visitor, but next week, a three-legged, one armed geologist is expected to touch down.
The lander, known as InSight, is designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough check-up since it was formed 4.5 billion years ago.
And the mission is an important one.
NASA is hoping to get a good look at the deep interiors of Mars, which could help unlock the mysteries of how other rocky worlds, including Earth and the Moon are formed. That's not all, InSight will also be listening for so-called Mars-quakes.
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Landing, will be the hardest part - only about 40 percent of missions sent to Mars have been successful.
Before any exploring can happen, InSight will have to survive, what NASA dubs the "seven minutes of terror".
The shell containing the lander, will hit Mars' atmosphere flying at 5.5 kilometres a second.
To land, it needs to slow down to just 2.24 metres a second. That's the trickiest part.
InSight will rely on a parachute and series of engine firings to slow down enough for a soft upright landing.
That all needs to be done within a seven minute window.
Because it will take too long for humans to connect to the Lander, InSight will have to do all of it itself.
But after an exhausting trip, InSight will get a few hours shut eye before it starts its mission.