2124: Space Mission Hearing

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Space Mission Hearing
Our grant application contains one of those little greeting card speakers that plays spaceship noises when you open it.
Title text: Our grant application contains one of those little greeting card speakers that plays spaceship noises when you open it.

Explanation[edit]

Megan and Ponytail are organizers of a space mission going over their upcoming presentation to a hearing that will approve the mission's funding. Megan recites the grown-up, professional, scientific justification for the mission, but soon her enthusiastic and nerdy attitude toward space breaks through, and she exclaims "space" and "pew pew pew" (An internet meme for the sound of lasers, inspired as a typical sound that media space weapons make, and now an onomatopoeia often used in gaming speak for ray weapons and spells as a joke) with childish abandon. Ponytail wants her to rein in her enthusiasm during the actual hearing as the funding is unlikely to come if they are behaving childishly instead of being professional.

The joke is that most of the motivation people working in space agencies have for spending billions of dollars and other resources on interplanetary exploration is not really for all the stuffy reasons listed, but simply because they believe space is cool. Funnily , due to the vacuum in space, you would actually not hear sounds and so some part of the enthusiasm is entirely childish.

The title text refers to a repurposable piece of electronics contained within specific greeting cards, which plays a prerecorded song when the card is opened. Usually, these cards play a song, like "Happy Birthday", when they are opened. Apparently, their grant application has incorporated speakers which play "spaceship noises", in order to stimulate excitement about the coolness of space in the receiver which is in contrast to the solemn tone mission hearing normally have. An additional joke is that the card will likely hurt their chances to get the funding instead of stimulating excitment in the receiver.

Transcript[edit]

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Megan and Ponytail are standing and talking.]
Ponytail: All ready for the hearing? Let's go over things one more time.
Ponytail: *ahem*
Ponytail: What is the main reason to fund this mission?
[Close-up of Megan.]
Megan: It will significantly advance out long-term goal of better understanding the formation and evolution of the Solar System, while fulfulling our mandate to develop a new generation of interplanetary spacecraft.
Ponytail (off-panel): Great.
[Megan and Ponytail are standing and talking. Megan's arms are raised.]
Megan: And because it's space!
Megan: Spaaaaaace.
Megan: Pew pew pew!
Megan: Space!
Ponytail: Dial it back.


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

Spaceship noises? What exactly does a spaceship sound like if you can't hear anything in space? Perhaps this is part of the joke! Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 13:15, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Actauly you can - your own spaceship might be producing some sounds. Like sort of humming device. -- 172.68.244.102 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Spaceships sound like the computer-generated chirps, whistles, and whooshes used in sci-fi media to make travel through space familiar to those of us who travel through air. I hear little 'pew pew pew' noises come from my computer whenever I burn a cd! 172.68.65.198 13:49, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
they add them artificcially like on electric cars, so that you do not get run over by a spaceship when crossing the milkyway. --Lupo (talk) 14:12, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

And I see that main idea behind this comics - that while we are trying to find some serious reasoning of space programms, the real motive that realy matters - IT IS SPAAAAAAACE!!! Everything else is not enough to justify such expenses. -- 172.68.244.102 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It could be meaningful to list some reasons for exploring or not exploring space in the article ... There's a TV show about colonizing Mars that makes the point that once we inhabit two planets, we guarantee a future for our race if the planet doesn't survive. 172.68.65.198 13:49, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, the main reasons for exploring space are (so very human) curiosity and need of achievement. Like exploring the lands and seas of Earth in the previous centuries (even if greed was a big factor as well). The former is more rational and largely more fruitful than the latter, in the sense that pursuing curiosity we (the humanity) learn new things while exploring space and advance general science and technology, which eventually (in some cases) leads to improvements of daily life. The need of achievement (hurray! we're first to do it!) is what mostly drives manned exploration, which also provides some scientific results but comes at a vastly greater cost. Given current and near-future advances in robotics, mechatronics, etc. the scientific value/cost quotient of manned exploration is very low compared to robotic missions in my opinion. I'd vote for building a thousand of Mars probes that will take some measurements in a thousand of points on the planet's surface over doing a manned mission that'll visit one spot - for a comparable price. But humans are not entirely rational beings and sometimes do crazy things just for the sake of them. Colonization on the other hand is a completely outworldlish idea. The colony would not survive without constant resupply from Earth - not in any forseeable future state of technology. Maybe in thousands of years, maybe never (i.e. we'd go extinct before we could achieve it). -- Malgond (talk) 14:47, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
See Mars (2016 TV series) which basically plays as a mix of advertisement for SpaceX and conventional sci-fi. They've got a surprising amount of how to do this figured out. And I can only imagine the funding comes from people saying "Spaaaaaace" with stars in their eyes. 162.158.79.149 17:27, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Both rational though and our genetic programming says that we need to spread more to avoid the risk of extinction. Note that Mars guarantees nothing: Sun will go nova in just five billion years and destroys all inner planets. That's the deadline to moving to different solar system or at least moons of Jupiter. We would need to move to Mars sooner, as Earth will get too hot (yes, even if we stop current episode of climate changes). Also, that's assuming nothing will crash into our solar system when our galaxy will be crashing into Andromeda in 3.75 billion years. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:46, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
The travel-into-space efforts seem to either be "right now!" or "that's stupid" when it seems a more rational approach would be, "let's just make sure we're always working on this a little bit." 162.158.78.100 17:30, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
I second that. Let's stop worrying what will happen in "just five billion years". Anything can happen between now and 5 Ga from now, including Earth being ejected into interstellar space (goodbye, Sun! goodbye, life!). We've already done a lot to avoid extinction in the last few thousand years, and we'll continue that effort; however, being unable to learn from an example, we can make a fatal mistake anytime without realizing it until it's too late. Or a random big event (internal or external) could wipe us all. Or a natural long-term trend (in human timescale, not billions of years) that we can't possibly adapt to. So research what we reasonably and affordably can and hope for the best :-) -- Malgond (talk) 10:56, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
If species preservation gets integrated into the reasons we should include a mention to the title text from https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/893:_65_Years 172.69.46.10 11:49, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

I’m glad there’s now a comic featuring literally me. Complicated explanation prior to yelling space and making laser noises. Netherin5 (talk) 14:23, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

The "Spaaaaaace" reminds me of the "Spaaace" substitution in 1288. Probably just a coincidence. 172.68.142.77 17:11, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace! Zmatt (talk) 07:42, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace! Herobrine (talk) 22:29, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

The obsession with Space makes me think of Space Core from Portal 2 ~Diceguy 173.245.54.7 00:04, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

Are there any recent real-life hearings to justify a space-related project that this comic could be referencing? The comic feels like a parody of a real-life event, but a quick search of recent news found only a tiny statement by NASA, nothing like a big hearing.—Roryokane (talk) 13:19, 16 March 2019 (UTC)