Local 8th-grader named the rover that's landing on Mars today!

If everything goes according to plan, a NASA rover is going to land on the surface of Mars today (Thursday) at around 4 p.m., Eastern Time.

The rover -- which NASA is calling Perseverance -- is controlled by a bunch of scientists in Southern California.

Of course, these scientists are good. Perhaps the best in the world. But, everyone admits that landing on Mars is risky, as only half of all previous Mars landing attempts have succeeded.

So, flip a coin and root for the USA as Perseverance navigates over cliffs, sand dunes, and boulder fields up there on Mars.

AND CHECK THIS OUT...14-year-old Alex Mather, who's in the 8th grade at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Fairfax County, actually NAMED the rover!!!

Last year, Alex beat out 28,000 students nationwide to win the NASA “Name the Rover” essay contest . How cool is that?!?!

photo: Getty Images