Space, you either dream of going there some day, or have to put your hands and knees on the floor at all times when even thinking about it. Either way, it’s out there, stretching forever into cold infinity as best we understand the laws of physics, at least until we don’t anymore.
What is out there? This week, according to many, many YouTubers, there was a UFO closing in on Earth. They say that NASA suddenly halted its livestream from the International Space Station at the exact moment a UFO entered the field of view so as not to terrify Earthlings. Curious timing! If you're the type who believes “official reports,” you'll be relieved to hear NASA has denied this, saying it was a regular communications glitch. They happen all the time, after all. The object was most likely a meteorite, the agency told Popular Mechanics. Or possibly Elon Musk testing a new slingshot or maybe the dead Chinese space station that is now probably making its way back down to Earth.
All satellites in orbit will eventually be dragged by gravity back down to Earth or deliberately crashed once their usefulness has expired. With no official word from China, it’s currently unclear whether its space agency is still in control of the crewless, 8-ton station and able to steer it towards a very sparsely populated land area or into the sea and down to the satellite graveyard. Suffice to say, an out-of-control space station careening to Earth and smashing into a populated area would bring devastating destruction, but statistically it’s far more likely to hit the ocean and cause minimal, if any, damage. Better to be alarmed than unprepared, we guess.
Speaking of alarmists, according to the Daily Beast, Russia has plans to weaponize space by building a rocket with the capacity to carry nuclear missiles. Citing nothing but a state-sponsored Russian website for the announcement, the Daily Beast is still very worried this will cause a NUCLEAR WAR to break out in the year 2020, when this theoretical and quite possibly non-existent space weapon will be ready to launch and rain bombs down on the United States.
“It’s unclear how much money the Kremlin is investing in the project, and how serious senior officers are about actually deploying the space plane, if and when … [the] team finish it,” the story admits, before going on for twenty more paragraphs of irresponsible scaremongering.
In real space news that is truly wonderful, Juno, the Lego-carrying, solar-powered space probe currently orbiting Jupiter, has sent back an image of the gas giant and three of its moons using its on-board cam, and it's beautiful:
In a few weeks, Juno will begin sending back hi-res images from its mission that will take it around the planet 37 times, each orbit lasting 53 Earth days. NASA did not divulge which of the Lego astronauts took the picture.
Elmo is a writer with Real Future.