1547: Solar System Questions

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 17:54, 6 July 2015

Solar System Questions
My country's World Cup win was exciting and all, but c'mon, what if the players wore nylon wings and COULD LITERALLY FLY?
Title text: My country's World Cup win was exciting and all, but c'mon, what if the players wore nylon wings and COULD LITERALLY FLY?

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a BOT - Please change this comment when editing this page.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic is a list of questions which Randall has about the Solar System, which at first glance may appear to be things that Randall would like to learn about. In actual fact most of the questions have not been satisfactorily answered or proven by anyone in the scientific community.

Question given Answer given by Randall (in Red) Comments
Why is the the Moon so blotchy? Lava "the the" could be a Randallism (intended or unintended).
Why are all the blotches on the near side? ... The nearside of the Moon is dominated by the blotchy 'seas' (volcanic flats), the far side by craters. Possibly an overabundance of craters obliterate the blotches, and the far side was always more 'exposed' to impacts.
Did Mars have seas? Yes (briefly?) Recent explorations have confirmed there was once standing water (not just occasional flowing water), but not yet how long, save that it created the sedimentary layers that we have seen.
Was there life on Mars? ... One of the big mysteries, not yet answered.
What's Titan like? Cold, yellow, lakes + rivers (methane)
What was Earth like during the Hadean? ... Hadean
Is the Oort Cloud a real thing? ... The Oort Cloud is a theoretical spherical cloud of icy planetsimals centred around our sun.
Why is the Sun's corona so hot? Something about magnets? The corona of the sun is hotter than it theoretically should be. The looping magnetic fields in this area could be responsible.
What are comets like? Precipitous The Philae lander is next to a cliff...
Where's Philae, exactly? ... ...but we're not sure which cliff.
What's Pluto like? [Soon!] The probe New Horizons may be about to answer both of these questions.
What's Charon like?
Why don't we have in-between-sized planets? ... There is a size-gap between the rocky planets (up to Earth size) and the gas giants
What's Ceres like? [Working on it!] Another probe, Dawn (spacecraft).
Why is Europa so wierd-looking and pretty? Ice over a water ocean
Why is Io so weird-looking? Sulfur volcanoes (? in the wrong places?)
Why are so many Kuiper Belt objects red? ... Kuiper Belt
What are those spots on Ceres? ... Ceres
What's in the seas under Europa's ice? ... Europa
Which of the other moons have seas? Several (Partial/initial list possible? Definition of 'seas' would affect this.)
What are the big white things in Titan's Lakes? ... Lakes of Titan
What do Jupiter's clouds look like up close? ...
What's all that red stuff in the Great Red Spot? ...
What's pushing the Pioneer Probes? Heat from the RTG Discussed as the Pioneer anomaly. RTG stands for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator.
What pushes spacecraft slightly during flybys? ... The related Flyby anomaly.
Where are all the Sun's Neutrinos? Oscillating Solar neutrino problem
Why is there so much air on Titan? ...
Why does the Kuiper Belt Stop? ... A reference to the Kuiper Cliff.
Why is Iapetus weird-colored? ...
Why does iapetus have a belt? ...
What's the deal with Miranda? ... Miranda is the smallest of Uranus's five round satellites. Also possibly a Firefly reference since Miranda is the name of a planet in Serenity, a film in the Firefly series.
Did Uranus and Neptune change places? ... The Nice model is a theory of how our solar system formed, which suggested the possibility of Uranus and Neptune having swapped places before reaching their current positions. Work by Professor S. Desch also came to this result.
Did the Late Heavy Bombardment happen? ...
Did life start before it? ...
Is Europa covered in Ice Spikes? ...
Why haven't we build a big inflatable Extreme Sports Complex on The Moon? ... See, e.g., The Menace From Earth, a 1957 short story by Robert Heinlein.
(Titletext) My country's World Cup win was exciting and all, but c'mon, what if the players wore nylon wings and COULD LITERALLY FLY? ... 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and The Butterjunk Effect

Transcript

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Discussion

I wonder if "What's the deal with Miranda?" is talking about one of Uranus's satellites or if it's a Firefly/Serenity reference? Keavon (talk) 15:31, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

  • That was my reaction too. Randall is (as he should be) slightly obsessed with Firefly. Cosmogoblin (talk) 19:12, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
    • There are other Mirandas... Miranda Sings, Miranda Hobbes, etc. Smperron (talk) 13:36, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
      • Given that the title of the comic is "Solar System Questions", and Miranda in firefly is not in the solar system, this is clearly a reference to the Uranus moon. Niffe 00:09, 10 July, 2015
        • If it's a reference to Miranda from Sex And The City, it's still a valid question. 108.162.241.8 12:42, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Many of the entries can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_problems_in_physics Cschwenz (talk) 16:16, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

The title text is a reference to the Futurama episode "Butterjunk effect" http://theinfosphere.org/The_Butterjunk_Effect. 188.114.98.29 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

What's Titan like? Refernece to Gattaca (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZa83dTf4JA)? The Twenty-second. The Not So Only. The Nathan/Nk22 (talk) 16:23, 6 July 2015 (UTC)


I wonder if Randal is using us as unpaid researchers to answer his questions for him?173.245.48.89 16:53, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Crowd-sourcing space probes? I certainly hope so!! Cosmogoblin (talk) 19:12, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
    • I was also thinking that, or at least he might have been thinking, "This oughtta keep those silly people on the ExplainXKCD wiki busy!". ;) KieferSkunk (talk) 20:42, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Timing is good as it has recently been shown that red organics (Tholins) are produced by the particular UV wavelength called 'Lyman-Alpha' which is almost as bright on Pluto's night-side due to starshine as it is from the Sun during its daytime... the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt may be the original Red-light District. Go New Horizons! Squirreltape (talk) 15:13, 7 July 2015 (UTC)


Ice Spikes could be a reference to the Ice Spikes biome in Minecraft: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/File:Ice_Plains_Spikes.png Daedalus (talk) 10:12, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

The last question/the title text could also refer to Robert A. Heinleins "The Menace from Earth": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Menace_from_Earth Bichlesi (talk) 01:13, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

The "big white things in Titan's lakes" may also refer to the magic islands that were observed by Cassini.--108.162.221.90 02:56, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

If they wore wings and could fly you would end up with the Butterfly Derby on the moon from the Futurama Episode "The Butterjunk Effect" 108.162.216.146 06:23, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

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