When NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover Will Land on Red Planet, and How To Watch

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is just a few days away from touching down on the red planet after nearly seven months in space.

The space agency says the rover is expected to land at approximately 3:55 p.m. ET on Thursday.

If you would like to follow the landing as it happens, NASA will be providing live coverage of the event on Thursday through various channels.

Live coverage and landing commentary from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California will begin at 2:15 p.m. EST (11:15 a.m. PST) on the NASA TV Public Channel and the space agency's website.

The live stream will also be available on the NASA App, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and THETA.TV.

Notably, the space agency will be hosting its first-ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing. The program—Juntos perseveramos—will air at 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, providing viewers with an overview of the Mars mission.

NASA will also be providing a virtual guest experience for members of the public during landing. The experience will include notifications about mission updated and curated mission resources.

On February 16, NASA will stream a preview show via the JPL YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

The agency has also created an interactive visualization in which you can explore the process of how the rover will land on the Martian surface.

The landing will involve the rover descending through the thin Martian atmosphere at more than 12,000 miles per hour before a parachute is deployed, helping to slow its speed down to three miles per hour.

A controlled descent will hopefully see the rover land in the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater—an area researchers think was once home to a river delta billions of years ago, making it a promising spot to search for signs of microbial life.

"If there's one thing we know, it's that landing on Mars is never easy," NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Marc Etkind said in a statement. "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!"

NASA says Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover the space agency has ever sent to Mars, incorporating several advanced technologies. The rover is also carrying a unique technology experiment—a helicopter known as "Ingenuity" that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars
An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing safely on Mars.