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How to Watch NASA's InSight Land on Mars

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In 2012 joy erupted at the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena after a successful landing. Kelley Clarke, left, celebrates as the first pictures appear from Curiosity. Expect a repeat of the excitement if NASA's InSight mission, set to land on November 26, 2018 also touches down successfully.  (Brian van der Brug-Pool/Getty Images)

After cruising through space for about seven months, the time has arrived for NASA’s Mars InSight mission to settle down on the Red Planet and get to work.

The culmination of this almost 90 million mile journey is expected Monday, Nov. 26, at about 12:00 p.m. Pacific.

To safely land, InSight has to slow down from its entry speed upon reaching the atmosphere, 12,300 miles per hour to just about 5 mph, within six minutes. (For a video explanation of InSight’s path to the ground, see below.)

To control its entry, small rockets will direct it toward the surface. Insight needs to enter the atmosphere at a precise 12-degree angle to avoid either burning up or bouncing off the planet’s surface.


Then, the spacecraft will release a large parachute to slow its progress, cast off its heat shield and extend a trio of shock-absorbing landing legs.

Finally, the lander will separate from its backshell (a protective covering) and parachute. A dozen engines, known as retro rockets, will begin firing to help the lander set down gently on the Martian soil — its new permanent home.

Want to watch? Read on.


NASA will webcast the landing and the scene from Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. You’ll be able to watch on KQED Science (link will be live at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26) or directly on the agency’s website.

Watch In Person

There may be a viewing party planned near you. Check the map below.

Some highlighted events in California:

11:00 a.m.  Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland
10:00 a.m. Aerospace Museum of California, near Sacramento
11 a.m. California Science Center, Los Angeles
11 a.m. The Los Angeles Central Library, Los Angeles

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