NASA's InSight spacecraft to land on Mars Monday

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Thursday, November 22, 2018
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After a months-long journey, NASA's InSight spacecraft is just days away from touching down on Mars.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Mars is about to get its first visitor in years.

After a months-long journey, NASA's InSight spacecraft is just five days away from touching down on the red planet.

Scientist are hoping to learn answers to some of the most elusive questions, like where do we come from? And is there life on other planets?

The details on the mission were delivered at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena on Wednesday.

"This mission is like no other that we've sent to the red planet," said JPL's Veronica McGregor. "This mission will be studying the deep interior of Mars to tell us how all rocky planets form, including the Earth."

The project has been in the works for seven years and has now been in space for seven months.

Scientists are especially concerned about InSight's 6 1/2 minutes it will travel from the top of the atmosphere down to the surface of Mars.

"We're going to enter the atmosphere at 12,000 mph after our journey from Earth to Mars...that is a very high speed. The whole purpose of the EDL system is to take that very high speed down to 5 mph when we get down to the surface," explained EDL InSight Team member Rob Grover. "

InSight is being followed to Mars by two miniature NASA spacecraft, jointly called Mars Cube One, or MarCO. MarCO will attempt to relay data from InSight as it enters the planet's atmosphere and lands.

InSight is scheduled to touch down on the red planet at approximately noon on Monday. Viewers can watch coverage of the event live on NASA television, the agency's website and social media platforms.