The European Space Agency (ESA) is leading a new mission to Mars called ExoMars, and it’s about to attempt to land a probe on the Red Planet’s surface. The probe is called Schiaparelli for the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, one of the first to map Mars’ surface in the late 1800s.

What would Giovanni have thought if he could have watched the probe detach successfully from its mothership on Sunday (October 16, 2016)? The probe and mothership are both now barreling toward Mars. The Schiaparelli probe will make a controlled landing on Wednesday (October 19). Details below on how to watch online.

What is it you’re going to be watching exactly? The video above provides a great overview of the mission. The one below is an animation showing the two Exomars craft on approach to Mars (this is where they are at this writing), with one of them ultimately landing. The critical moment comes on Wednesday with the Mars Orbit Insertion burn. It’s a long engine firing – more than two hours – that’ll slow the spacecraft down sufficiently to be captured into Mars orbit.

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