It's far from a god-awful small affair to determine if there really is life on Mars.
For years, thousands of scientists and engineers across multiple countries have been working on building a rover that can successfully land on the red planet and search for signs of ancient life.
All those years of preparation come to a head on Friday, February 19 at 7.55am when the Perseverance rover is scheduled to land on the planet's surface.
While the work being carried out by the rover may be more than 471 million kilometres away, work on tracking the spacecraft carrying it has been done a lot closer to home.
Since last July, when the rover was first launched, Canberra's Deep Space Communication Complex has been in daily contact with the rover during its eight-month journey from Earth.
Glen Nagle from CSIRO's NASA tracking station said scientists based at Tidbinbilla would also play a critical role once the rover landed, providing communication with Perseverance's various functions.
"Canberra takes over operations an hour after landing and as early checkouts and surface operations for the rover begin," Mr Nagle said.
"We'll also be receiving data relayed through NASA's orbiting spacecraft around Mars.
"The Deep Space Network is crucial in that link."
While so much planning and preparation has gone into the mission, the rover's success all comes down to its landing, or what scientists on the project have dubbed "seven minutes of terror".
"That's how long it takes for the rover to get from the top of the atmosphere to the surface," Mr Nagle said.
"The rover enters at a speed of 2000km/h and it has to get to zero and we have absolutely no control over it."
What makes it even more terrifying is the distance between Earth and Mars means communication from Perseverance takes 11 minutes to get back to Earth.
Scientists won't know for another four agonising minutes after the landing whether Perseverance arrived safely or not.
With 45 per cent of the missions to Mars failing in the past 40 years, mostly due to technical reasons, a lot was riding on that seven-minute landing cycle.
"I wouldn't say there's fear from our point-of-view, but there's certainly a level of anxiety and expectation," Mr Nagle said.
"We understand better than anyone that these missions aren't about robots in deep space, they're about people and their careers and the science that they want to do."
Perseverance wouldn't be the first rover to land on Mars, but it would be the first to directly search for signs of ancient life that may have once lived on the planet or may still be there today in microscopic form.
It comes following previous rover missions that investigated whether there had been water on the surface of Mars and whether the planet had been able to sustain life.
Part of its mission was to dig up samples from key locations on the planet's surface, which would then be transported back to Earth on a future mission.
The rover itself weighs more than one tonne, including a 45-kilogram robotic arm. It is three metres tall and has 19 cameras onboard.
While teams of engineers had sweated on making sure the construction and landing of the rover went smoothly, once it's on the surface, work would then go to teams of scientists who would study the finds Perseverance presents.
Among them was former Canberra Dr Adrian Brown, the deputy program scientist on the mission.
Dr Brown studied at ADFA between 1991 and 1994 and was an engineer in the Navy for 11 years, but he said space was his true calling.
"As an engineer, I found I wasn't getting the fulfilment of being in the Navy. At the time I was reading a book called The Case for Mars and it had captured my interest in what I should be doing for the rest of my life," Dr Brown said.
"The book outlined why humans should go to Mars and that it was not a difficult task if humanity set its mind to it."
Now working for NASA and based in Maryland, Dr Brown had been in the position for the past five years and would help to decide where and what Perseverance would do during its time on Mars.
He said while previous rovers had explored parts of the planet's surface before, the work of Perseverance would be more difficult.
"We have a much more compressed and challenging program," he said.
"Our goal is to get 20 samples from the ground and make them available as samples for a return mission."
Regardless of how the mission turned out, Mr Nagle said the work of Perseverance represented a giant step forward for space exploration.
"In terms of being able to find something like life on Mars, this is probably the best chance we've ever had to answer that question," he said.
"If we do find evidence of life and those results are released, then certainly it would be one of the greatest breakthrough discoveries."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.