A European lander is to separate from its mothership Sunday for a million-kilometre (621,000-mile) descent to Mars, testing vital technology ahead of a mission to explore the Red Planet for signs of life.
The high-stakes operation comes nearly 13 years after European ambitions were dealt a blow when its first scout to Mars disappeared on landing.
A 600-kilogramme (1,300-pound), paddling pool-sized lander called Schiaparelli is to separate from an unmanned craft called the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) after a seven-month, 496-million-kilometre trek from Earth.
Separation is scheduled for 1442 GMT, with the landing due to take place on Wednesday, according to the ESA website.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment