Was just listening to a description of what it takes to land a craft on Mars. Fantastic what they've managed to figure out. Hope it works, the last one went splat.
Mars Lander Headed for Sunday
Once the craft reaches Mars's atmosphere, the next critical seven minutes make up what's known as the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) phase.
Screaming down at about 12,600 miles (20,270 kilometers) an hour, the craft must open a parachute to slow itself for a three-minute glide to the surface about 70 miles (113 kilometers) below.
The craft's landing sequence then includes steps such as jettisoning its heat shield, extending its legs, and firing its landing thrusters.
"There are 26 pyrotechnic events, and each of those have to work perfectly for this to go as planned," Goldstein said. "Getting EDL communication [at touchdown]—that'll be the three seconds that I am really biting my nails over."