NASA InSight landing on Mars

NASA brings Mars landing, first in six years, to viewers everywhere Nov. 26.

This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On Nov. 26, NASA’s InSight spacecraft will blaze through the Martian atmosphere and attempt to set a lander gently on the surface of the Red Planet in less time than it takes to hard-boil an egg. The landing will kick off a two-year mission in which InSight will become the first spacecraft to study Mars’ deep interior. Its data also will help scientists understand the formation of all rocky worlds, including our own.

InSight is being followed to Mars by two mini-spacecraft comprising NASA’s Mars Cube One (MarCO), the first deep-space mission for CubeSats. If MarCO makes its planned Mars flyby, it will attempt to relay data from InSight as it enters the planet’s atmosphere and lands.

The following is a list of expected milestones for the spacecraft, assuming all proceeds exactly as planned and engineers make no final changes the morning of landing day. Some milestones will be known quickly only if the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft are providing a reliable communications relay from InSight back to Earth.

Times listed below are in Earth Receive Time, or the time JPL Mission Control may receive the signals relating to these activities.

Wednesday, Nov. 21

  • 1 p.m. – News conference: Mission engineering overview
  • 2 p.m. – News conference: Mission science overview

Sunday, Nov. 25

  • 1 p.m. – News conference: Final prelanding update
  • 4 p.m. – NASA Social: InSight team Q&A

Monday, Nov. 26: Landing Day

  • 6 to 10 a.m. – Live interviews with mission experts

To book an interview, media must contact Mark Petrovich at mark.petrovich@jpl.nasa.gov or 818-393-4359.

  • 2 to 3:30 p.m. – Live landing commentary on the NASA TV Public Channel

An uninterrupted, clean feed from cameras inside JPL Mission Control, with mission audio only, will be available on the NASA TV Media Channel.

  • No earlier than 5 p.m. – Post-landing news conference