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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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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 explanations|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
 
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Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 25 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Barge
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.

Explanation

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. Randall 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 flimsy 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.

Transcript

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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