NASA’s Rover is About to Land on Mars

In a huge moment for space exploration, the American space agency will today attempt to land a new rover on the surface of Mars.

The six-wheeled robot, named Perseverance, will be the first NASA mission since the 1970s to search directly for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.

Powered by plutonium, this is the most sophisticated rover the space agency has ever built.

The rover’s aimed for landing point? An ancient river delta in dusty, boulder-strewn Jezero Crater—where the rocks could bear signs of microbes from what was, 3.5 billion years ago, a deep lake.

If all goes to plan, Perseverance is scheduled to land at 3:55 pm EST—or at least, that’s when NASA will find out if its rover has touched down.

Radio signals take around 11 minutes and 22 seconds to travel between Mars and Earth, so there’ll be a slight lag before NASA officially knows the success of its landing.

The live stream can be watched on NASA’s official YouTube channel, beginning at 2:15 pm EST (11:15 am PST). That means it’s just about time to settle in, settle down, and get ready for one hugely exciting touchdown.