Talk:2804: Marshmallow

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Made a start, not sure if the heating up science is completely correct though MrCandela (talk) 13:54, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

Because I'm a nitpicker, I kind of want to see some mention in this blurb about how reentry is usually a communications blackout period, due to the plasma sheath blocking all radio waves and so talking with Houston *during* reentry is unrealistic. I strongly suspect Randall knew this, though and ignored it for the sake of the joke. Trimeta (talk) 14:08, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

In the case of the space shuttle it was possible to circumvent the problem of radio blackout by relaying the radio through satellites (the plasma blocks the radio waves downwards, but there was be a window upwards). Rps (talk) 15:39, 19 July 2023 (UTC)
The current explanation suggests that Mission Control would be concerned by the lack of communication from the capsule, but given that they would be aware of the effects of reentry, there's no particular reason why this should cause them concern. 15:58, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

Some things that should probably be added: The comic was likely published in anticipation of the 54th anniversary of the first moon landing on the 20th of July 1969 In reality, the marshmallow, exposed to the vaccum of space, would expand due to the internally trapped gasses until its structural integrity failed The title text should probably direct reference to Kessler syndrome, in which a single collision of orbiting objects causes a chain reaction filling low earth orbit with debris, in this case, tasty stacks 14:30, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

The phrase "rapid unplanned disassembly" in the explanation of the Kessler syndrome, however, is inspired! RAGBRAIvet (talk) 11:02, 20 July 2023 (UTC)

IMO, "Reentry Marshmallow Toasting Module" refers only to the Marshmallow arm and any necessary associated parts (covers, actuators, etc.), not the whole spacecraft (as the way it is currently written suggests). That is, as for instance, Apollo had a command module, a service module, etc.(?) in this case, there is this extra module. I think it is not unusual to have experiments or sensors piggy-backing in a existent spacecraft or probe. Rps (talk) 15:55, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

Agreed - I'd just amended the article to that effect before coming down here and reading this. :o) 15:59, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

"the marshmallow has been on the outside of the module for the entire journey, exposed to the vacuum of space. In this situation, it would have radiated all its heat energy away, reaching temperatures near absolute zero" I think this is incorrect: the side of the spacecraft in the shadow gets quite cold, although probably not ~3ºK (cosmic background temperature), since in low-earth orbit you have a warm body (the Earth) radiating some heat some (most?) of the time. But the sun side gets quite hot. Apollo used "Passive Thermal Control" (informally, it was called “barbecue roll”) to even out the temperature. Rps (talk) 16:11, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

I wonder if Randall played Outer wilds recently. Fabian42 (talk) 17:00, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

I don't think the specific choice of graham crackers is a reference to anything scientific. That's the usual cracker used to make s'mores. Barmar (talk) 02:35, 20 July 2023 (UTC)

I completely agree. I'm sure that the S'mores Randall is familiar with would have been made with Graham crackers and that's what he's referring to. MAP (talk) 04:46, 20 July 2023 (UTC)
I had to look up s'mores. I don't think they are common in the UK.-- 15:04, 20 July 2023 (UTC)
Also agreed, graham crackers are the normal recipe for s'mores, there's no reason to expect any reference to Graham's number. I'll remove that from the explanation.PotatoGod (talk) 05:05, 20 July 2023 (UTC)

An Apollo capsule returning from a lunar mission would be traveling at approximately escape velocity. If you think about it, how would it lose all the velocity it gained falling from lunar orbit, except by atmospheric friction? (Luna is at approximately infinity in terms of velocity needed to reach L1. Nitpicking (talk) 02:55, 20 July 2023 (UTC)

Space is not zero kelvin, the CBC is some degrees above that. Also as we are close to the Sun and Earth, and the marshmallow might have been exposed to sunlight/Earth light so there is no reason to believe it is frozen. But any water could have evaporated. Furthermore it may have been deployed from inside shortly before reentry. It looks normal in the picture, so it could be presumed it is a fresh marshmallow only just put outside when reentry begins. --Kynde (talk) 13:07, 20 July 2023 (UTC)

And, contrary to current explanation (indicating that it'll end up salty and wet), the de-deployment process might allow the snack ...once 'done'... to be brought back in whilst still undergoing descent (perhaps once they're on 'chutes). But I definitely think there should be three such equidistant modules, for a more fair/timely availability of snacks. ;) 14:51, 20 July 2023 (UTC)

AT 8 km/s, once they hit the atmospheric interface, how long would Smith reasonable have before the marshmallow (then the stick) were instantly vapourised? I'm guessing maybe 5-10 seconds. I've always said that good timing is essential to good cooking. 01:56, 21 July 2023 (UTC)Beechmere

I have to mention this prior art on atmospheric reentry marshmallow toasting, and I regret to say Randall's idea is inferior, because this one has cats: 07:24, 21 July 2023 (UTC)