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The First of 3 February Mars Missions Happens Tomorrow — Here’s How to Watch

The first mission enters orbit on Tuesday, February 9th — followed shortly after by a historic Rover landing.

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Mars missions don’t happen every day, but in February of 2021, there are actually three Mars missions happening — two of which can actually be viewed via live-stream. The United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe will enter the Mars orbit on Tuesday, February 9th and the United States NASA Perserverence Rover will attempt a Mars landing on Thursday, February 18th, both of which will be live-streamed. The third mission, the Tianwen-1, is a space mission from China, and won’t be live-streamed.

No matter what we will or won’t see, missions are historic, will expand our understanding of the universe, collect massive amounts of data, and are, above all, pretty rare to be able to see. Luckily, we can watch most of the events live from the comfort of our homes. And you definitely won’t want to miss the chance to see two separate Mars missions.

If you (or your kids) are very into space, here’s what you need to know about how and when you can watch both Mars missions this month.

Here’s How, and When, to Watch The UAE Hope Mission

On Tuesday, February 9, The United Arab Emirates probe called Hope will finish a seven-month journey and attempt to enter the orbit of Mars. The mission will be difficult — with remotely operated maneuvers to slow down Hope so it can be caught in the orbit of Mars. If the UAE is successful, the probe will stay in orbit for one year on Mars (that’s 687 Earth days) to collect data on the climate and weather of Mars.

A live stream on the official UAE Hope Mars Mission website, Emirates Mars Mission, will host a live-stream of their attempt to get Hope in orbit. Although the live-stream hasn’t launched yet, the probe is expected to enter the orbit of Mars at about 10:42 a.m. EST, so check out the website around then.

Here’s How, and When to Watch the NASA Perseverance Rover Mission

Perseverance, the first rover to be sent to Mars since the Curiosity Rover landed on that distant planet in 2012, is landing on our neighboring planet later this month, on Thursday, February 18. Fortunately, tuning in is a super simple process. Here’s everything you need to know about how, and when to watch the Perseverance rover land on Mars.

Perseverance is set to land on the planet at 3:55 pm EST on Thursday, February 18, and the event will be available to view live on NASA’s official YouTube page (where there is also a Spanish stream available.)

However, if you are really looking to make a day of it, the space festivities begin way before then. A special live-stream for students is set to begin at 12:30 pm EST, with the official live coverage starting at 2:15 pm EST.

Due to data delays, NASA will not be able to broadcast the actual landing live but you will still be able to see the majority of the landing process, including the initial entry and descent, which space engineers often refer to as the “seven minutes of terror.” Once Perseverance has landed, the rover should be able to transmit low-resolution images of Mars’ surface, along with potentially giving us a chance to hear what it sounds like on Mars.

So far, NASA has only managed eight successful Mars landings, so this is an extremely rare chance to get a real look at the process. Perseverance will be landing near the Jezero Crater, which was chosen by NASA because it is believed to have been the home of an ancient river delta billions of years ago. Scientists hope that the rover is able to collect soil samples and if we’re lucky, we could even get a glimpse of signs of past life on the planet.