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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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== Latest comic ==
 
== Latest comic ==

Revision as of 21:23, 18 June 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 4 xkcd comics, and we've explained ALL THE COMICS! Great work everyone! There's still work to do, so please help extend incomplete descriptions!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Aviation Firsts
Mile High Club membership [✓] [ ] Discovery of parts of Amelia Earhart's skeleton [ ] [ ] Mid-flight incident that results in safe landing on the Hudson River [✓] [ ]
Title text: Mile High Club membership [✓] [ ] Discovery of parts of Amelia Earhart's skeleton [ ] [ ] Mid-flight incident that results in safe landing on the Hudson River [✓] [ ]

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a DRONE ON MARS. Put a table detailing all the events of the achievement checklist with an Earth and Mars column. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

This comic is made in light of recent events of the Ingenuity probe's first flight on Mars. Now that Ingenuity has completed its first flight, it marks the first controlled powered flight on Mars.

The previous categories were completed by the first space probes to reach and then land on Mars. Flight, Landing and Controlled Landing were variously achieved by some or all of the prior landers, depending upon your definition of flight, but certainly by the Skycrane element used in landing both Curiosity and Perserverence rovers. These may not have qualified as Controlled Powered Flight as they only used their power to control the landing, before 'flying off' again under power without any more precise control than that needed to intentionally 'crash elsewhere'.

The remaining have only been completed on Earth, such as the Loop which does not yet seem to be practical to attempt over Mars, growing steadily more bizarre and more specific further down the comic and extending into the title text.

Cultural references

  • The Hughes H-4 Hercules (the "Spruce Goose") was a prototype wooden airplane, known for being the largest flying boat ever constructed. The Hercules was designed by aviation pioneer (and, latterly, famed recluse) Howard Hughes. The design was intended as a lightweight transoceanic transport for the the military, but the prototype (built out of wood because of aluminium shortages during the 1940s) was not completed until well after the end of the Second World War and only actually flew a single time in 1947.
  • In 1971, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 was famously hijacked by a man who bought a ticket under the pseudonym "Dan Cooper" (but popularly known as D. B. Cooper). After being given a $200,000 ransom by the plane's crew, Cooper then proceeded to parachute jump out of the plane using the rear airstair and was never confirmed to have been heard from again; many experts agree that the parachute jump was very risky and it's unlikely that Cooper even survived. (Cooper was previously mentioned in 1400: D.B. Cooper and 1501: Mysteries.)
  • The "mile high club" is a slang term for people who have had sexual intercourse while onboard an airplane in flight. Although the notion of sex in space is understood to be severely hampered by the total lack of gravity, it's not known whether Mars's low gravity (compared to Earth) would make it similarly challenging to have intercourse on or near the planet's surface.
  • Amelia Earhart was a female aviator who, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, went missing over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 while attempting a global circumnavigation flight and has never been found. While there's some possibility that some of Earhart and Noonan's remains will eventually be discovered somewhere on the Pacific coastline, the notion of them somehow ending up on the surface of Mars is practically impossible outside the remit of certain conspiracy theories. (Earhart was previously mentioned in 1501: Mysteries, 950: Mystery Solved, and 2197: Game Show.)
  • The Miracle on the Hudson was a 2009 aviation incident in which a US Airways airliner struck a flock of geese shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Despite the plane losing all its engine power as a result of the bird strike, Captain Chesley Sullenberger successfully crash-landed in the nearby Hudson River with minimal injuries to the passengers onboard. Of course, it would be highly impractical for a powered flight that encounters a problem in the sky above Mars to then fly all the way to Earth just for an emergency landing.

Transcript

[A chart is shown with nine items. To the right of each item there are two check boxes. Above the top row of check boxes are two underlined labels for the two columns. The first four rows have both boxes checked, the last five have only the first box checked. The last two items are so long that they take up three and four rows of text. The first seven items can be on one line.]
                            Earth      Mars
Flight                       [✓]      [✓]
Landing                      [✓]      [✓]
Controlled landing           [✓]      [✓]
Controlled powered flight    [✓]      [✓]
Loop                         [✓]      [ ]
In-flight meal               [✓]      [ ]
Planetary circumnavigation   [✓]      [ ]

Enormous wooden aircraft     [✓]      [ ]
built by a reclusive billionaire
that flies exactly once

Hijacking by someone dubbed  [✓]      [ ]
"D.B. Cooper" who demands
money and then jumps out
mid-flight to an unknown fate


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