The US space agency (Nasa) has released an animation showing how its one-tonne Perseverance rover will land on Mars on 18 February.

The robot is being sent to a crater called Jezero where it will search for evidence of past life. But to undertake this science, it must first touch down softly.

The sequence of manoeuvres needed to land on Mars is often referred to as the “seven minutes of terror” – and with good reason.

So much has to go right in a frighteningly short space of time or the arriving mission will dig a very big and very expensive new hole in the Red Planet.

What’s more, it’s all autonomous.

With a distance on the day of 209 million km (130 million miles)

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