CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s already been a seven month journey but it’s only just beginning.
The 800 pound InSight spacecraft is finally going to reach the red planet to closely study the deep interior of Mars.
That’s if it survives a brutal seven minute landing.
NASA scientists estimate the spacecraft will enter Mars’ atmosphere Monday afternoon.
A supersonic parachute deploys first to slow the descent, then InSight drops from its heat shields, about a mile above the surface, free-falling until reverse thrusters put on the final brakes.
If it all goes well, scientists expect insight to beam back critical information about the planet’s core, helping pave the way for a manned mission to Mars.
Only 40 percent of missions to Mars have successfully landed on the planet.