Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
(some refactoring)
(update comment for calculation of number of explanations)
Line 6: Line 6:
We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
<!-- Note: the -9 in the calculation above is to discount subcategories (there are 7 of them as of 2012-11-25),
<!-- Note: the -9 in the calculation above is to discount subcategories (there are 8 of them as of 2013-02-27),
     and non-comic pages (2 as of same date: [[List of all comics]] and [[Exoplanet]]) -->
     as well as [[List of all comics]], which is obviously not a comic page. -->
and only {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)}}
and only {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)}}
({{#expr: ({{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)) / ({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9) * 100 round 0}}%)
({{#expr: ({{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)) / ({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9) * 100 round 0}}%)

Revision as of 19:09, 27 February 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". xkcd comics, and only Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". (Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",".%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

We all remember those famous first words spoken by an astronaut on the surface of Mars: "That's one small step fo- HOLY SHIT LOOK OUT IT'S GOT SOME KIND OF DRILL! Get back to the ... [unintelligible] ... [signal lost]"
Title text: We all remember those famous first words spoken by an astronaut on the surface of Mars: "That's one small step fo- HOLY SHIT LOOK OUT IT'S GOT SOME KIND OF DRILL! Get back to the ... [unintelligible] ... [signal lost]"


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Needs citations.

This comic is talking about the robotic science platform Opportunity. On January 25, 2004, the Opportunity rover landed on the surface of Mars for the purpose of gathering data about the surface of Mars.

Also sent to Mars on the same date was another Martian rover, Spirit. Unfortunately, this became stuck and a sand storm covered its solar panels. On March 22, 2010, it was thought that Spirit's batteries finally ran out, marking the end of its mission. This was memorably covered in 695: Spirit, in which the Spirit rover is portrayed as sentient.

As of the release date of this comic in 2015, the Opportunity rover is still alive and moving. The comic depicts the scientists at ground control being amazed at this.

However, in 2023, Opportunity has apparently become so powerful that it has become dangerous, presumably cannibalizing or destroying the rover sent in 2020. Cueball and Megan note it even continues to operate without its original battery, suggesting it has developed a new power source. This evolution is similar to the stories of HAL 9000 (from 2001: A Space Odyssey) and V'Ger (from Star Trek: The Motion Picture), both of which became sentient and dangerous.

By 2450, humans have colonised and terraformed Mars. “Everything the light touches” is a reference to what Mufasa says in The Lion King. (Mufasa's son Simba then asks "What about that shadowy place?" and Mufasa tells him “That is beyond our borders. You must never go there”.) What this all implies is the Opportunity has dominated half of the planet.

The title text refers to the first words of the first astronauts on the surface of Mars. At first, the astronaut copies the first words of Neil Armstrong on the Moon ("That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind") but it is interrupted by the Opportunity rover. Onboard the rover uses a drill for sampling rocks, but here it uses it to attack the astronaut.


[Ponytail and Hair Bun sitting at a computer.]
Ponytail: After six years, Spirit is down, but Opportunity is still going strong.
Hair Bun: Tough little rover!
[Opportunity traveling on Mars.]
Offscreen: Eleven years, wow.
Offscreen 2: Wasn't the original mission 90 days?
Offscreen: This is starting to get weird.
[Cueball and Megan sitting at a computer.]
Cueball: The battery is totally disconnected. How can it still be moving??
Megan: Given what it did to the Mars 2020 rover, we may never know.
2450, terraformed Mars, martian imperial capital:
[Some martian inhabits looking like Cueball and Megan pointing in the dark.]
Cueball-Martian: Everything the light touches is our kingdom.
Megan-Martian: What's that dark area?
Cueball-Martian: That is Opportunity's half of the planet. We must never go there.

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?