NASA Mars mission gets perfect explainer from The Oatmeal

Matthew Inman draws a comic with everything you need to know about NASA's InSight lander.

Amanda Kooser
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

The latest human-made visitor to Mars should arrive at its destination on Monday when NASA's InSight lander is set to touch down

Perhaps the best and quickest way to get up to speed on the Insight mission is to read artist Matthew Inman's delightful new Oatmeal comic explaining the lander's task.

InSight is very different from NASA's famous Mars rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity. The lander will be staying in one place and, if all goes well, deploying a robotic "mole" deep into the ground to take the planet's temperature. 

Watch this: NASA's InSight mission is about to drill Mars

The Oatmeal comic covers a lot of ground, from the mole to the "seven minutes of terror," a description of the process of entry, descent and landing. This is a hairy time, when NASA waits for word from InSight on whether the arrival was successful. 

Inman will be at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, during InSight's landing. You can follow his live tweets during the process. He recommends tuning in starting at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, an hour ahead of the scheduled touch down. 

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