Snowed in? You can watch NASA land on Mars today

NASA will attempt to land a rover on Mars today then deploy a helicopter from it to acquire essential information about the surface of the planet. It’s a historic and once-in-a-lifetime event that you can watch live.

“When I was a lad, landing on Mars felt like a sci fi movie but it’s happening on Thursday,” local astronomer Billy Hix reported on his social media page earlier this week. Hix is The Lynchburg Times’ resident “science guy” and also does science outreach programs for Moore County schools and others.

Beginning at 1 p.m. today, folks can watch a historic event as NASA attempts to land the the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars and then deploy a helicopter from it. It will mark the first time in the space program’s history that anything man-made landed and then flew around any planet.

And it will be no easy feat.

The 10-foot rover will plunge through Mar’s thin atmosphere at around 12,000 mph then attempt to use a parachute to slow the craft down to around 2 mph in order to precisely land in the Jericho Carter, a dried up lake on the surface of Mars. It’s called the Sky Crane Maneuver and NASA officials says that today’s landing is easily the “most dangerous site NASA has ever tried to land a rover.”

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that landing on Mars is never easy,” said NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Marc Etkind. “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.”

The landing itself will take place around 2:43 p.m. CST today and you can watch live by visiting http://www.nasa.gov beginning at around 1 p.m. You can also find links across all of NASA’s social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}