The Loop

Oh great, a rogue space station is set to crash back to earth in the next few weeks

China Prepares To Launch Shenzhou-8 Spacecraft


It's been a tough couple of weeks here on earth, with tragedy, political strife, and the biggest federal investigation since Watergate (and its cast of increasingly desperate Looney Toons villains) occupying the front and back burners of our collective mental stove. If it feels like the sky is falling, well, you wouldn't necessarily be wrong, because the latest batch of super great news is pretty much exactly that.

According to aerospace authorities, Tiangong-1—an 8.5 ton Chinese space station launched in September 2011—has spiraled out of control and is now set to crash back to earth sometime between March 29th and April 9th. It's likely point of reentry? Along a narrow probability band that happens to include 25 states, from California to New York and several rectangular splotches in between. And if you're wondering why NASA hasn't assembled a rag-tag team of miners, construction workers, and chopper enthusiasts to go blow this thing out of the sky a la Armageddon, it's because Bruce Willis ends up dying at the end of that movie and Bruce Willis is just about the only good thing we have left.

The odds of being struck by debris from Tiangong-1, should any debris even survive reentry, remain infinitesimal—one million times less likely than winning the Power Ball jackpot, according the scratch-ticket addicts over at The Aerospace Corporation—but if by some chance they do and happen to land in your backyard because you're just having that kind of freaking week, they urge you not to touch and or attempt to smoke any of the wreckage because, and we quote, "there may be a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board the spacecraft that could survive reentry."

In other words, there's probably alien spores on board, and lest you have extraterrestrial spawn exploding out your chest by lunch, you should probably just pack up the kids and head to mom's for the weekend, which seems like a bit of pick-your-poison scenario. On the plus side, maybe it will just come down directly on your head and you won't have to file your taxes or worry about dying polar bears anymore. Little wins, amirite?