NASA's Perseverance rover has been chilling out in space, listening to its own heat rejection fluid pump, as it makes it way to Mars for a Feb. 18, 2021, date with destiny. Landing is no joke. It's a fiery, fraught and dangerous moment that will make or break the mission.
The space agency released a "mission trailer" for Perseverance's entry, descent and landing, or EDL, operations. Set to soaring music and with some intense animations, it will make you run to your calendar and put a big ol' red circle around Feb. 18 next year.
The video shows what the end of the rover's 300 million mile (470 million kilometer) trip will look like. The animation covers everything from the arrival to the parachute deployment to the actual landing as the rover is placed (hopefully gently) on the surface of the red planet.
NASA will provide live coverage of the landing, though it won't look anything like the Hollywood-style mission trailer for the arrival. Perseverance is kitted out with a suite of cameras to capture EDL, so we could eventually get some incredible views of the process.
Once on Mars, Perseverance will kick off a mission to search for signs of ancient life, fly a helicopter and collect rock and dust samples that NASA hopes to bring back to Earth one day. Yeah, it's kind of a big deal.