Web Comic xkcd Explains How a Saturn V Rocket Works

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Nov. 14 2012 3:13 PM

xkcd Explains How to Go to Space in Simple Language

If you're not reading the brilliant web comic xkcd, then a) what's wrong with you? and 2) seriously, go read it. Written by Randall Munroe, it's arguably the geekiest and most scientifically literate comic on the 'net. The simple stick figures and drawings he uses belie a fiercely intellectual comic that will poke at your brain.

His latest is a great example of this: a blueprint-style diagram of a Saturn V rocket using very simple terms ... very simple.

xkcd web comic with a drawing of a Saturn V rocket very simply explained

Image credit: xkcd/Randall Munroe


Click the image to enlaunchenate and see the whole thing. It's great. I have a lot of rocket scientist friends and they're loving it, as do I. Make sure you hover your mouse over the comic for a moment to see the pop-up alt-text.

xkcd web comic of an astronomer who looks suspiciously like your host blogger

One thing I really like about Randall is his unabashed love of science, math, logic, and programming, and how he incorporates them into his comics. And of course my love for his work has nothing at all to do with his using an astronomer in one of his comics a while ago who may look vaguely familiar.

You should also check out his new series, "what if?" where he takes a simple question and explores it to its logical conclusion ... no matter how far he has to go.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.