1291: Shoot for the Moon
|Shoot for the Moon|
Title text: Shoot for the Moon. If you miss, you'll end up co-orbiting the Sun alongside Earth, living out your days alone in the void within sight of the lush, welcoming home you left behind.
The comic and the title text both parody the motivational quote attributed to Leslie Brown, which originally says, "Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
In the original form, the phrase "Shoot for the moon" is figurative, meant to inspire people to pursue ambitious goals, reasoning that even if they fail to achieve them, they may still accomplish other great things while trying. The comic and title text, on the other hand, is literally referring to the moon, and using the word "shoot" not in the sense of "aspire" but to mean "fire a weapon at." The comic further explores the humorous motivations for "shooting the moon"; Megan wants to destroy and kill the moon in order to humble it, feeling taunted by its orbiting merrily over her head, and so she inspires her students to physically attempt to destroy the moon whenever possible, only to become sheepish when she realizes the moon is right behind her, as if it were a person who could become offended by what she is saying. This is, of course, a common comedy trope.
The title text invokes another literal interpretation of the phrase - if a space vehicle aims at the Moon and misses, it will end up in a new orbit, possibly (depending on its velocity) escaping from the Earth-Moon system and following a separate but nearby orbit around the Sun. A solar orbit is very hard, very fuel-intensive, and very lengthy to return from, despite physically meaning you will remain very close to Earth, even close enough to see it with some optical magnification. Thus, as a hypothetical space explorer's life support gradually ran out because his craft could not make it back to Earth in time, he would be taunted by Earth remaining close to him.
- [Megan stands at a podium.]
- Megan: Students, shoot for the moon. If you miss,
- [A surprisingly lunar-like object is starting to edge into the frame.]
- Megan: SHOOT AGAIN. Keep shooting and never stop.
- [The moon is now almost entirely in-frame.]
- Megan: Someday, one of us will destroy that stupid skycircle. And— ...What? What are you all—
- [The moon is now in frame, lurking ominously in the background.]
- Megan: ...it's right behind me, isn't it? Shit. Everyone act casual.
- The What if? Question #109 Into the Blue Made a reference to this comment - see the title text on the third picture.
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