2428: Mars Landing Video
|Mars Landing Video|
Title text: The best part of crashing a Mars briefing is you can get in a full 11 minutes of questions before they can start to respond.
This comic was published shortly before a NASA press briefing that showed, as mentioned in the comic, the first ever full-speed video of a Mars landing. This comic is set at that press briefing and was published shortly before this briefing happened in real life. "Full-speed" here means that the video was captured at a frame rate high enough that it looks continuous when played back, as opposed to low-frame-rate imagery that looks jerky when played back.
The comic plays on the fact that if there is only one of something in a set, that one thing is the most/least in that set by lack of comparison. As there is only one full speed video of a Mars landing, that makes the video the best one as well as the worst one. Randall, who has often been banned from conferences, has apparently also been banned from NASA's press briefings. So he decided to crash the conference (literally, see below) solely to ask the question, "Is this then not also the worst video ever", flouting his ban and embarrassing NASA (a prior case of the latter is possibly why the former is currently active).
He follows up with the question of whether NASA is planning to make a worse Mars landing video, which is silly because people generally don't intend to make something worse. However, because this video is the worst full-speed video of a Martian landing by virtue of being the only full-speed video of a Martian landing, it is likely that if enough full-speed videos of Martian landings are made in the future, this video will not be the worst forever. Although this is merely a consequence of the fact that it is the only full-speed video of a Martian landing so far, the fact that it is technically true, as well as the way that Randall phrases it, makes it look embarrassing for NASA. The tendency of Randall (the character, not the real-life person) to make rude, embarrassing, and otherwise unwelcome comments is probably why he has been banned from NASA's press briefings, as well as all those conferences.
Judging by the sound effects, Randall has chosen to literally crash his way through the roof, using a "skycrane" — a general term for aerial vehicles that can lower or raise objects similarly to standard cranes. Specifically, one of these was used to land the Perseverance rover three days before. On Earth one might use the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter, while NASA used a custom-built skycrane delivery system for the Perseverance rover. Randall deems using a skycrane to crash a conference about a skycrane ironic, especially since NASA's security was totally unprepared to stop him from using this method - a method NASA developed - to crash the press-briefing.
The title text refers to the 11-minute communications delay (one-way; 23-minute delay round-trip) between Mars and Earth, due to the speed of light and the distance between the planets at the time of the rover's landing. The Perseverance mission control must wait this long before they can even begin to respond to anything that happens to the rover, which Randall here twists into an 11-minute period in which he can ask whatever questions he likes before NASA can respond. This would only make sense if the conference he was crashing was on Mars and they were waiting for his questions here on Earth, or vice versa and plays on the ambiguity of the expression "Mars briefing", which can mean both a briefing about Mars and a briefing taking place on Mars.
- [Hairbun is standing, arms spread out, on a podium in front of a lectern. There is a "Crash" on the top right of the panel with several lines around to indicate the position, and an off panel voice coming from there. As indicated in the caption below the voice is from Randall.]
- Hairbun: We're excited to share the first ever full-speed video of a Mars landing.
- Sound: Crash
- Randall (off-panel): Doesn't that mean it's also the worst ever full-speed video of a mars landing?
- Randall (off-panel):Do you expect that record to stand forever, or is NASA working on a worse one?
- [Caption below the comic]:
- NASA tried to ban me from their press briefings, but ironically their security was totally unprepared to deal with a skycrane.
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