Bosnian villagers are preparing to gather in front of a video display at the yard of the community’s only school to see NASA’s Mars rover try a Tricky landing Thursday at a crater about the Red Planet named after their small village

JEZERO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnian villagers are preparing to gather in front of a movie screen in the yard of their community’s only school to see NASA’s Mars rover effort a difficult landing Thursday in a crater on the red planet named after their little village.

It’ll be a historical day for the 1,000 villagers, who hope that the planned landing of the Perseverance rover in Mars’ Jezero crater may even bring them some earthly rewards. Some are giving voice to feelings of pride, something uncommon amid the hardship and poverty that remains entrenched since the Bosnian war of the 1990s.

“When I heard on TV which NASA called a crater on Mars later Jezero, I was amazed and I thought,’something good is finally happening to us. After years of hardship possibly this is a sign we can finally proceed,”’ stated Milan Kotanjac, a Jezero villager.

Many locals are hoping that the exploration of the Mars crater might inspire more attention and visitors to their own their small patch of the universe, a lush Bosnian valley adjacent to the gorgeous, river-fed Pivsko Lake.

NASA educated local authorities in 2019 of its plans to name a 28-mile (45-kilometer) wide crater on Mars after the village because it was once home to some river-fed lake such as the one just outside Jezero, whose name means”lake” in the local language.

The information was delivered in September 2019 by the U.S. ambassador to Bosnia, who presented the mayor with a letter from NASA’s director of Mars exploration honoring the relation between the village and the red world.

The rover named Perseverance is led Thursday for a compact patch in the crater that is filled with pits, waterfalls, sand dunes and fields of rocks. The area could hold evidence of past life, and the rover is expected to gather samples at the place for eventual return to Earth.

At firstthere were some scattered negative reactions in the Bosnian village from people fearing it may be a distraction from the serious issues that remain unresolved so many years after the war, such as poverty and a lack of job opportunities.

Most people merely joked that the mayor”will require us to Mars.”

“We are extremely happy that it’s brought attention to usour Jezero,” said villager Nedeljko Kovacevic.

Mayor Snezana Ruzicic stated she hopes that the new fame will allow the area to produce jobs, such as youth camps dedicated to space exploration for children from across the nation, which remains divided along ethnic lines.

Ruzicic stated the coronavirus pandemic has forced her government to scale back plans for a series of lectures for neighborhood youths on Perseverance’s mission. The initial aim was to tell youth about the way the exploration of this Jezero crater might help humanity determine if there’s ever been life on a different world.

However, they did manage to arrange an event in the middle of the village July for sailors to collectively watch a live feed of Perseverance’s launch to Mars from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Ruzicic said. The kids were invited to pay the village’s main street with paintings of the way they imagine Mars, and they happily obliged, she added.

“I am sure that in the future it may inspire some great projects, great events at the municipality of Jezero,” Ruzicic said.