NASA’s Perseverance Rover to land on Mars Thursday

The countdown is on!

NASA’s Perseverance’s much-anticipated visit to Mars is just hours away. Once the Rover is “home” on Mars — scheduled for Feb. 18th — there will be a weather station transmitting the temperature, radiation and dust, relative humidity, and wind. This journey has been truly remarkable, from its beginning on July 30th of last year with a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. According to NASA:

The spacecraft’s 292.5-million mile (470.8-million kilometer) journey is just about complete. Once at the top of the Red Planet’s atmosphere, an action-packed seven minutes of descent awaits — complete with temperatures equivalent to the surface of the sun, a supersonic parachute inflation, and the first ever autonomous guided landing on Mars.

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The descent through Mars’ atmosphere to the surface will be especially harrowing. Here’s an explanation from Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh: