NASA prefers not to talk about Surveyor too much, seeing as the axe was wielded on the unfortunate spacecraft in the aftermath of 1999's Mars Polar Lander mishap, which blotted NASA's otherwise excellent copybook for landing on the Martian surface. And if you're in NY, you can stand with fellow New Yorkers, tourists and fully grown adults in Elmo suits to celebrate the moment in Times Square.
It's been travelling through space for six months - but a $1billion Mars probe's mission will tonight come down to "six-and-a-half minutes of terror".
NASA's top scientists admitted to sleepless nights, sweaty palms, stomach aches and moments of pure terror as their $993 million Mars Insight spacecraft approaches a high-drama finale Monday: landing on Mars.
Mars' atmosphere is thin, just 1% of the Earth's, but since the beginnings of the Mars exploration program in 1965, NASA has figured out how to use that atmosphere to its advantage.
Some last minute tweaks were made to the spacecraft's trajectory over the weekend.
It's touching down on Mars that aerospace engineers consider to be one of the greatest challenges in the solar system; in fact, about a third of missions successfully launched to the red planet don't survive a landing.
After landing, InSight will send a tone beacon indicating its status.
After that, the spacecraft turns, so its heat shield is pointing in the right direction.
The lander will dig deeper into Mars than ever before, reaching a depth of roughly 5 metres.
Enlarge Entry descent and landing for the In Sight
"The next big event is parachute deploy", says Grover.
Though the twin spacecraft are officially known as MarCO A and MarCO B, they have been bestowed the nicknames "Eve" and "Wall-E" by their engineering teams, according to a statement released by the space agency, nicknames taken from the 2008 Pixar film "Wall-E".
MarCO is a small spacecraft that's flying to Mars with InSight.
The lander is also equipped with a robotic arm that it will use to place HP³ and RISE on the surface of the planet.
For InSight, however, mission managers are slightly more confident than usual.
Another instrument onboard the lander is a spear-like heat probe, which will burrow vertically into the ground and measure the rate at which heat is escaping from the planet.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is also hosting a viewing event beginning at 2 p.m with live views from mission control at JPL I'll be joining Museum astrophysicist Rachel Smith, Ph.D., with more information about the mission, its instruments, and what we hope to learn about what lies inside the red planet.
The InSight mission will also bring several martian "firsts" to interplanetary science, including the first seismometer situated on the surface, to detect and analyze waves created by "marsquakes".
In recent days, NASA has been commanding the spacecraft to make minor course corrections to ensure InSight enters the Martian atmosphere at the proper angle to within about a quarter of a degree. Unlike InSight, the MarCO spacecraft keep on going past Mars into space. An inquiry completed previous year concluded that onboard computer software errors led to data conflicts, causing the probe to strike Mars at high speed.