NASA’s Perseverance rover is set to reach Mars on Thursday, February 18, 2021.
The entry, descent, and landing phase of the mission are referred to as “seven minutes of terror” because the sequences are complex and the rover is essentially on its own after it receives the signal from NASA to descend.
The spacecraft will drop at 12,000 miles per hour through the Martian atmosphere where it will endure temperatures up to 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit.
It must then slow down to 1.7 miles per hour to allow the sky crane to lower it into position.
The rover is due to land on February 18, 2021, at the base of an 820-foot-deep (250 meters) crater called Jezero, a former lake that was home to water 3.5 billion years ago.
It will drill into Mars and collect geological specimens that will be cached across the planet and retrieved by a follow-up mission around 2031.