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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — For NASA’s InSight spacecraft, it all comes down to the final six minutes of a six-month journey to Mars.
For the first time in six years, a new mission is about to land on Mars. On November 26, NASA’s Mars InSight lander will touch down on the Red Planet.
The lander will enter the Martian atmosphere at supersonic speed, then hit the brakes to get to a soft, safe landing on the alien red plains.
After micromanaging every step of the way, flight controllers will be powerless over what happens at the end of the road Monday, nearly 100 million miles away.
Project manager Tom Hoffman says by the time they hear anything, the whole thing will be over. The communication lag between Mars and Earth is eight minutes.
If all goes well, the lander will spend the next two years digging into Mars and doing other experiments.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CA – MAY 03: The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V rocket is seen with NASA’s InSight spacecraft onboard, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to study the ‘inner space’ of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core. (Photo Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)