On Thursday, December 4, NASA is launching an unmanned space craft that will eventually take humans to Mars. Orion will reach 3, 6000 miles from Earth, which is the farthest a ship that can accommodate humans has gone since Apollo 17 in 1972.
This is the first step in a manned mission to Mars. “My hope is that when we fly the capsule on Thursday, it will energize the public and energize that middle schooler [who] isn’t quite sure what he wants to do, but he likes math and science,” says Richard Boitnott, an engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center.
The first flight to Mars isn’t expected until 2035, with shorter flights in between. This particular mission will fly for four hours and 24 minutes, orbit Earth twice and drop into the Pacific Ocean not too far from San Diego
Watch the live feed from NASA’s press conference below!