A robot the size of a large car is set to plummet out of the sky above Mars and then be lowered down to the surface by a contraption that looks like something out of Thunderbirds.

The robot, named as NASA's Perservrence Rover, will land on the red planet just before 9pm UK Time on Thursday, February 18 evening.

Cumbrian astronomer Stuart Atkinson has explained more about what will happen: "If everything goes as planned the rover "Perseverance" will then begin to explore a huge Martian crater that was a lake, billions of years ago.

"There's a chance, albeit a small one, that before the end of its mission it will find evidence of past life on the Red Planet.

"We'll have to wait and see.

"In the meantime, Mars is still easily visible to the naked eye in our night sky at the moment, looking like a fairly bright orange "star" high on the south as soon as the sky darkens.

"It's easy to find right now because it lies to the lower right of the famous Pleiades or "Seven Sisters" star cluster, which it will appear to drift past in another week or so.

"But on Thursday night, as Perseverance drops out of the Martian sky, you'll be able to find Mars just by looking at the crescent Moon.

"Mars can be spotted as the orange star positioned to its upper left."

WATCH LIVE: You can watch NASA’s Perseverance Rover Land on Mars via YouTube below