NASA’s next mission to Mars takes off early Saturday morning, May 5, and you can watch it live online.
The InSight Mars lander will hitch a ride on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday at 7:05 a.m. ET (4:05 a.m. local time) and, yes, for you space nerds playing along at home, this is the first time an interplanetary launch has taken off from the West Coast.
If you’re an early riser, you can watch a live-stream of the launch on NASA.gov/nasalive. (The video is also embedded below.) NASA’s coverage of the launch will begin at 6:30 a.m.
If all goes well, InSight will touch down just north of the Martian equator on November 26 around 3 p.m. ET. “You will be able to watch a live stream of this landing while working on your holiday shopping,” noted Tom Hoffman, InSight project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a press release, so set your iCal alert now.
Once on Mars, InSight will start testing the landscape with its super-sensitive seismometer that will detect “marsquakes” and vibrations created by micrometeorite strikes. It’s all in the hopes of learning more about Mars’s interior structure and composition, and on the evolution and formation of rocky planets in general.
InSight’s launch window starts May 5 through June 8, 2018, with multiple launch opportunities over windows of approximately two hours each date.