Mars rover landing: How to watch in the UK as NASA’s Perseverance touches down on Mars

NASA's Perseverance rover: Experts discuss Mars landing

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The Mars rover is rapidly closing in on the Red Planet with less than 1.63 million miles to go at the time of writing. The NASA rover is targeting the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater for its mission, in the belief, the site may have once hosted alien life. But landing on Mars is not easy and only 40 percent of all missions to the planet have been a success.

You will, therefore, not want to miss any of the action tomorrow.

And the good news is you will be able to watch it live and from the comfort of your home, courtesy of NASA TV.

Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said: “Perseverance is NASA’s most ambitious Mars rover mission yet, focused scientifically on finding out whether there was ever any life on Mars in the past.

“To answer this question, the landing team will have its hands full getting us to Jezero Crater – the most challenging Martian terrain ever targeted for a landing.”

How to watch the Perseverance Mars landing in the UK:

NASA will host extensive coverage of the landing attempt across its multiple channels.

And thanks to NASA TV, the space agency’s round-the-clock educational broadcasting, you can watch the landing online here in the UK.

Simply hit play on the embedded video player above before the coverage begins.

The broadcast will also be hosted on Facebook, Twitch, LinkedIn and, of course, NASA’s website.

Live coverage will start tomorrow at 7.15pm GMT or more than an hour before the rover’s scheduled landing.

Keep in mind there will be an 11-minute delay in communications between Earth and Mars.

As a result, Perseverance will be landing without outside guidance during a sequence known as the “seven minutes of terror”.

In other words, by the time we first receive confirmation of the rover diving into the planet’s atmosphere at 12,000mph, it will have – hopefully – already landed.

The rover is scheduled to touch down in Jezero by 8.55pm GMT.

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Swati Mohan of NASA’s Mars 2020 team said: “Entry, descent and landing is often referred to as the seven minutes of terror.

“Because it takes about seven minutes to get from the top of the atmosphere of Mars to the ground safely.”

Many things will need to go right for the rover to survive the descent.

Perseverance will need to release its parachute at just the right time to slow down from about 1,000mph down to about 2oomph.

The rover will then need to fire the engines on its Skycrane platform – a jetpack-like device designed to safely lower the rover to the ground.

In many ways, the landing will resemble that of the Curiosity rover in 2021.

But Dr Mohan said: “Fundamentally, Perseverance is a different rover. She’s bigger, she has different instruments.”

Jezero Crater is also a much more hazardous landing site than Curiosity’s Gale Crater.

Whatever happens tomorrow, you will not want to miss this historic event.

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