WATCH LIVE: NASA's InSight Probe To Land On Mars This Afternoon

Nov 26, 2018

NASA's InSight probe is set to land on Mars this afternoon at around 2 p.m. CST. Launched in May, the probe will end its journey to the Red Planet, where it will begin a two-year mission to gather data on Mars' terrain. 

Watch a livestream of the landing below, courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. 

The probe will begin its roughly hourlong descent process at around 1 p.m., when it enters the Martian atmosphere, then deploy parachutes and fire jet boosters ahead of a landing on the Elysium Planitia, a landing site chosen for its relatively flat terrain and its proximity to the Martian equator, according to NASA: 

The landing ellipse is about 81 miles (130 kilometers) long, generally west to east, and about 17 miles (27 kilometers) wide, covering the area within which the spacecraft has about a 99 percent chance of landing when targeted for the center of the ellipse.

InSight takes 360-panoramic images in all directions at this landing site. Scientists expect a flat surface, no hills nearby and few large rocks in view. That is based on high-resolution images taken from orbit as part of thorough evaluations for selecting the site.

After that landing, InSight will deploy its solar array to power its instruments, which will probe Mars' terrain, temperature and geological structure. The probe will also capture high-resolution images of the Red Planet, according to NPR's Joe Palca.

Shortly after its landing, the probe will send its first signals back to Earth and confirm its safe landing.

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