NASA's first robot, designed to study the deep interior of a remote world, is approaching the touch of Mars after a six-month space trip.
Traveling at 548 million kilometers from Earth, the Mars InSight spacecraft must reach its target on the Red Earth's dusty surface around 7:00 am Tuesday.
The Mission Control Team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles is preparing to make a final adjustment to InSight's flight route on Sunday to maneuver the spacecraft closer to its entry point over Mars.
If everything is OK, InSight will slip into the pink Martian sky almost 24 hours later at 19,310 km / h.
Its 123-kilometer downhill will be amazed by atmospheric friction, giant parachute and retro rockets.
The stationary probe launched from California in May will then stop 16 minutes to allow the dust to settle around the landing site before the disco-shaped sunsets unfold to provide energy.
Engineers are hoping to get a real-time electronic confirmation for the safe arrival of a spacecraft of miniature satellites that were launched alongside InSight and will pass Mars.
JPL's controllers also expect to get a photo of the probe area on the flat, smooth Martian plane near the equator of the planet called Elysium Planitia.
The site is about 600 kilometers from the 2012 landing space of the spacecraft Mars Rover, the spacecraft sent to the Red Planet by NASA.
The smaller 360 kg InSight marks the 21st shot of Mars in the US, including Mariner's Flight Mission from the 1960s.
Nearly two dozen other missions on Mars have been sent by other peoples.
InSight is the first to unlock secrets from deep under Mars. He will spend 24 months – about a Martian year – using seismic monitoring and underground drillings to gather evidence of how Mars was formed, and thus the origin of the Earth and other rocky planets of the Inner Solar System more than four billions of years.
The main tool of InSight is an extremely sensitive French seismometer designed to detect the smallest vibrations of marsquakes and meteoric impacts.
Scientists expect to observe a dozen to 100 marches during the mission by creating data to help them derive the size, density and composition of the planet.