1788: Barge

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My life goal is to launch a barge into the air and have it land on one of Elon Musk's rockets.
Title text: My life goal is to launch a barge into the air and have it land on one of Elon Musk's rockets.


This is another one of the "My Hobby" series, where Randall tells about a strange hobby. This is probably the most destructive one so far, as it would result in the destruction of a space rocket.

The launch company SpaceX is currently testing a reusable rocket system, where the first rocket stage lands on an autonomous spaceport drone ship. The rockets guide themselves in to land by aiming themselves towards a giant launch pad with the "X" from the SpaceX logo painted on it. Cueball intends to trick a rocket into falling into the sea with a variation on the old trapping pit. He empties out a barge, covers the hole with a giant copy of the launch pad, and floats it near launch sites. If a rocket attempts to land on the barge, it will crash through the paper and fall into the sea. Assuming that the paper target had not become previously destroyed from being soaked by spray from the ocean, the exhaust from the descending rocket would burn away the paper, but at that point it would be too late - the rocket's momentum would carry it into the sea.

It is also possible Black Hat had this particular hobby, considering that he is a real classhole.

The title text makes the barge land on one of Elon Musk's rockets- a reversed case, as rockets normally land on the barge. Launching a barge into the air would be tremendously difficult - they are big, heavy and not very aerodynamic - but it would be worth it for the spectacular explosion.


My hobby: hollowing out the center of a barge, stretching paper over the hole painted with the SpaceX logo, and leaving it floating offshore near launch sites.

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Any reason why the background is black in this one? 16:35, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Black background...huh? GoonPontoon (talk) 18:27, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
The xkcd Browser Android app, at least, uses black outside the rectangular comic image for this one instead of the usual white. It usually does that for dark-background comics like 312. I don’t know if it gets the color from the site somehow or uses its own heuristics, but either way this isn’t the first time it’s made the “wrong” choice. -- 18:40, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

When did the fine print at the bottom of the xkcd homepage change? 18:08, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

A few weeks ago, exactly when I'm not sure.
Actually, for quite a while That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 21:22, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Where do we put this kind of information on this wiki? Very funny but not so great as the one about the humour --Kynde (talk) 23:16, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
A sorry did not understand that the link was to a page on this site: footnote. Thanks. Have made a link to this page from the page on (xkcd). --Kynde (talk) 14:21, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
But much worse the xkcd warning has also been removed. So sad. Made the page for it. --Kynde (talk) 15:13, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

What exactly would cause a rocket to explode when it lands on this trick-barge (and into water)? 08:52, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

If the computer thinks it landed on a solid barge, it will turn off the engine, and the rocket will tip over, crash into the remaining hull, and explode. If the computer does not think it landed, the engine will enter the water and either go out (tip over, explode) or cause a steam explosion followed by a fuel tank explosion. Chrullrich (talk) 10:26, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure it is intended to be destructive, so much as scaling up of the everyday. You know how satisfying it is when you open a new jar of coffee or spread and get to punch the paper seal with a spoon? Randall has previously referred to these little pleasures, like cleaning the dryer fluff in https://xkcd.com/1346/ . 09:32, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

I do not think I would take any pleasures engaging in violence against pinnipeds made of compressed wood cellulose, especially with a metallic eating utensil. Fresh dryer fluff is another story while the spread depends on the magazine. 11:38, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Actual SpaceX launch was a couple of weeks ago: should we mention it?