World / Science & Health

Controllers to be powerless as Mars landing comes down to final six minutes of six-month trip

AP

For NASA’s InSight spacecraft, it all comes down to the final six minutes of a six-month journey to Mars.

The lander will enter the Martian atmosphere at supersonic speed, then hit the brakes to get to a soft, safe landing on the alien red plains.

After micromanaging every step of the way, flight controllers will be powerless over what happens at the end of the road Monday, nearly 100 million miles (160 million km) away.

Project manager Tom Hoffman says by the time they hear anything, the whole thing will be over. The communication lag between Mars and Earth is eight minutes.

If all goes well, the lander will spend the next two years digging into Mars and doing other experiments.