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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
  
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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
''Welcome to the '''Explain xkcd''' wiki!''
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We currently have [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-3}}''' comic explanations]]. Come and [[List of all comics|add yours]]!
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and only {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)}}
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remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
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== New here? ==
 
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Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the Explain XKCD wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com XKCD] web comic, it should be here.
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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.
  
 
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
 
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[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!
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* [[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! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
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.
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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.
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If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;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 posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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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 [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
 
If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
  
 
[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1735 (34700%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Rosetta
I WONDERED why he kept asking whether we thought the impact speed was too low.
Title text: I WONDERED why he kept asking whether we thought the impact speed was too low.

Explanation

On the day this comic was posted (September 30th 2016), the Rosetta mission ended with the final descent of Rosetta onto the comet 67P. Landing Rosetta on the comet gave the scientists (Ponytail, Megan and Hairy) a chance to collect extra data from very close to the comet, using the spacecraft's powerful sensors.

Cueball however assumed that the landing was a "kinetic impact" mission to deflect a comet that was on a collision course with Earth. A similar scenario (but using a nuclear weapon implanted inside of the asteroid to deflect it) was depicted in the 1998 film Armageddon, of which Cueball is apparently a fan.

In reality, at the time Rosetta landed, 67P was already leaving the inner solar system and was a long way past Earth. It will return to the inner solar system in around 5 years time, but its orbit is not expected to pose any threat to Earth any time soon.

Also, as the title text hints, Rosetta's speed was only 90 cm per second relative to the surface at the moment of impact (or about 2 mph/3.25 km/h; the speed of a slow walk), while the comet was travelling at 14.39 km/s. Given that Rosetta only weighs a couple of tons (or six horses), and 67P weighs nearly 10 billion tons (or 22 billion horses), Rosetta's landing will have no actual measurable effect on the comet's momentum.

Rosetta (and its lander, Philae) were previously the subject of the comics 1402: Harpoons and 1446: Landing, and were mentioned in 1461: Payloads, 1547: Solar System Questions and possibly 1621: Fixion.

Transcript

[A control room with Megan and Hairy sitting on stools in front of opposite desk with computers. Hairy has his arms in the air. Ponytail is standing between them with Cueball, she is watching Megan and he is looking at Hairy.]
Megan: Signal lost.
Megan: Rosetta has impacted the comet.
Ponytail: Good work everyone.
Hairy: Woooo!
[Zoom on Ponytail, still looking at Megan and Cueball who has turned towards Ponytail.]
Cueball: So.
Cueball: Do you think we deflected it?
[Ponytail turns to Cueball as does Hairy who turns and looks away from his computer.]
Ponytail: Huh?
Cueball: Did we hit the comet hard enough to deflect it away from Earth?
[In a frame-less panel Ponytail talks with Cueball.]
Ponytail: That... Is that what you thought we were doing?
Cueball: I just assumed...
[Megan enters whispering in Ponytail's ear, holding a hand up to her mouth. Ponytail still looks at Cueball who raises his arms up in the air.]
Megan: He's a huge Armageddon fan. Let him have this.
Ponytail: Okay, fine.
Ponytail: Yes! We did it! The Earth is saved!
Cueball: Wooo!


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.

Rules

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.

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