The European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars probe will launch the Schiaparelli lander to its descent to the planet today. A live stream of the landing will be hosted on Facebook from 1pm.
Descending to Mars is the most risky part of the operation since the launch in March, and will a major moment for the programme.
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is currently being manoeuvred into position, and an update from the ESA confirmed that everything is on track.
“The ExoMars/TGO orbiter is in great shape and ready to swing into orbit around Mars, while the Schiaparelli lander is programmed to wake up at about 15:37 CEST for its landing demonstration mission,” the organisation said.
“There is a cooperative international 'listening in' campaign ready to monitor signals from the landing module as it conducts the critical entry, descent and landing sequence today, leading to touch down and the start of surface science at about 16:48 CEST.
"The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India will listen from Earth, while a fleet of NASA and ESA orbiters will listen from Mars orbit.”
As part of the mission, the TGO will study methane and other rare gases on Mars which could provide new insights into the planet.
The Schiaparelli lander is the first of two probes to be sent to Mars by the ESA. The other is a complete vehicle that will be able to drill into the planet's surface to hunt for signs of alien life.
This project will begin in 2020 having suffered several delays.
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