Nasa's InSight probe has been travelling since May and is due to make a soft landing around 8pm GMT following a seven minute nail-biting descent in which the craft needs to decelerate from 12,300 miles per hour to just 5mph.
The first spacecraft to land on Mars in six years touches down on Monday equipped with British instruments to peer inside the planet and determine if it could once have sustained life. The spacecraft will be landing on Elysium Planitia, a large volcanic plain stretching north of Mars' equator. "This is a very hard activity that has to be done automatically by the lander", he said.
InSight will also deploy a seismometer to monitor earthquakes, which will also uncover information about the Red Planet's interior.
The InSight mission is aimed at probing the deep interior of Mars in hopes of shedding light on how similar worlds - like Earth and the moon - were created, according to JPL. Project manager Tom Hoffman said the spacecraft landed close to the bull's-eye, but NASA did not have yet have the final calculations.
Earth's overall success rate at Mars is 40 percent.
That heat shield is thicker than on previous missions to protect the mission from heavy dust in the atmosphere/ InSight's engineers built the lander with dust storms in mind.
As the spacecraft sped toward Mars and began descending through the thin atmosphere - which lacks the type of friction that usually slows landing objects - a parachute was deployed, followed by retro rockets to ease the descent.
Enlarge this image
You may be wondering if InSight will meet native forms of life during its stay on Mars; alas, that question will remain unanswered.
Mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, erupted in laughter, applause, hugs and tears as soon as the lander touched down.
It will measure the "vital signs" of Mars, which formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The science work won't begin in full for several months, however, because it'll take that long for the team to prepare for the deployment of the seismometer suite and heat probe.
There have been 44 attempts made to land on Mars; 18 have been successful while 23 have not.
InSight will fly through the Martian air at 12,300 miles per hour and must make initial contact with the atmosphere at an angle of precisely 12 degrees. "Now we finally will explore inside Mars and deepen our understanding of our terrestrial neighbor as NASA prepares to send human explorers deeper into the solar system".
Mars has been the graveyard for a multitude of space missions. The lander has three main scientific instruments: the shielded seismometer that Curiosity tweeted about, a "mole" that's created to burrow down as far as 15 feet and take Mars' temperature below ground, and a radio transponder that can make precise measurements of Mars' movements. Signals will come from various sources - the lander during descent; two experimental briefcase-sized spacecraft called MarCOs that flying behind InSight; InSight itself after landing; the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft during descent; the 2001 Mars Odyssey after InSight's touchdown.