On Nov. 26, NASA's Mars InSight lander will, if all goes smoothly, touch down on the Red Planet's surface, ending a seven-month space cruise and kicking off nearly two years of science work — and of course, you can follow all the drama live.
Mission team members expect news of a successful landing by InSight (knock on wood) to reach mission control at 2:54 p.m. EST (1954 GMT), give or take a few minutes. You can watch NASA officials and the mission team brace for this milestone moment live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT). Coverage will run until 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT).
If you're looking for a more communal experience to watch the landing unfold, NASA has also compiled a list of viewing events taking place on Nov. 26 across the country. NASA also has this InSight Mars landing toolkit that offers a comprehensive look at the mission, it's landing and different ways to watch.
The $850 million InSight mission launched on May 5, along with two briefcase-size cubesats called MarCO-A and MarCO-B. The tiny duo will attempt to beam home data from InSight during the touchdown attempt tomorrow, though this task isn't pivotal; other NASA spacecraft, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will also do this relay work. (MarCO-A and MarCO-B's main job was to demonstrate that cubesats can explore interplanetary space.)
InSight carries two primary science instruments — a suite of seismometers and a burrowing heat probe. Data gathered by this equipment will reveal a great deal about Mars' interior structure and composition, which in turn should shed light on the formation and evolution of rocky planets in general, NASA officials have said.
InSight's science mission is scheduled to last one Mars year, which is about two Earth years.