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<big>''Welcome to the '''explain xkcd''' wiki!''
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
We already have [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-3}}''' comic explanations]]!</big>
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(But there are still {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-3)}} to go. Come and [[List of all comics|add yours]]!)
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We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
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and only {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}}
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({{#expr: {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}} / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%) [[:Category:Incomplete articles|are incomplete]]. Help us finish them!
 
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And we are back!  Sorry for the database issues! --[[User:Jeff|Jeff]] ([[User talk:Jeff|talk]]) 13:16, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
 
 
 
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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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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|Lots of people]] contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
  
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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.
  
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*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
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*[[List of all comics]] contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed [[:Category:Incomplete articles|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
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== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
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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 page.
 
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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.
 
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Revision as of 03:05, 4 September 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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 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 a collision course with Earth. A similar scenario (using a nuclear weapon implanted inside of the asteroid) 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. Plus, as the alt 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 22,200,624,370 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: Megan and Hairy are at computers, Ponytail is directing, and Cueball is watching]
Megan: Signal lost.
Megan: Rosetta has impacted the comet.
Ponytail: Good work everyone.
Hairy: Woooo!
[Zoom on Ponytail and Cueball]
Cueball: So.
Cueball: You think we deflected it?
[Ponytail, Cueball and Hairy are now visible. Hairy looks away from his computer in surprise]
Ponytail: Huh?
Cueball: Did we hit the comet hard enough to deflect it away from Earth?
[Back to Ponytail and Cueball]
Ponytail: That... Is that what you thought we were doing?
Cueball: I just assumed...
[Megan enters. Cueball has his arms up in celebration]
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?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account 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 table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: Here's how.
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

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, post a message to the Admin requests board.

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