NASA’s plummeting death-satellite: Cloudy with a chance of spaceballs

All of these objects will one day fall out of space onto your house, but try not to worry too much.

GateHouse — I think if we can agree on anything, it’s that none of us have ever had to worry about satellite parts raining on us from space.

Oh, sure, there’s a lot we have had to worry about this week — George Lucas adding more stupid crap to “Star Wars,” panther attacks, our ridiculous doomed “government,” that stupid ticker on the new Facebook that just keeps yapping away about what my friends are listening to on Spotify which is about 500 kinds of obnoxious and also I need to talk with my friend Aaron about what is evidently some kind of Sunday morning Phil Collins fixation — to name a few.

But if there’s anything that brings us together as a people and binds us as humans, besides football, it’s the ability of the American people to band together, join their figurative hands and say, “None of us need worry about being whumped by plummeting space satellite debris, because when our broken space junk starts raining home someone with a computer will know what town it will be-crater.”

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Of course throughout September we had to amend this, to account for the national nightmare of NASA suggesting everyone remain indoors or under 30 feet of reinforced concrete if possible, lest they run the risk of being flattened like a pancake by pieces of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, which — and there’s really no other way to say this — finished its career researching the atmosphere while on speedy dive out of space into a crash zone somewhere on Earth that no one could actually predict.

Happily, the satellite’s return came Saturday, although NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs tweeted that “Precise time and locale are not yet known” which reminds me: WILL SOMEONE TELL ME HOW WE DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE SATELLITE FALL IS ENDING? Facebook knows how often Aaron played “Another Day In Paradise” between 10-11 a.m. this morning (14) and there are massive data processing centers buried underneath mountains in unmapped sectors of Montana (redundant) that know which brand of detergent I prefer, and no one with the weight of the American space program behind them can draw a bead on falling things from space that they put in space?

If I sound alarmed by this, it’s because this alert came to me in one of those alerts that makes my phone go buzz at 4 a.m. and makes it subsequently VERY HARD TO GET BACK TO SLEEP BECAUSE I HAVE A SKYLIGHT OVER THE BED AND WHEN THERE ARE SATELLITE PARTS FALLING OUT OF SPACE IT IS DIFFICULT TO NOT TRY TO IDENTIFY THEM THROUGH THE SKYLIGHT. Also apparently there are squirrels living on my roof that should probably be dealt with in the unlikely event we survive the autumn.

Anyway, at press time everyone is fine I guess and the plummeting space debris didn’t actually flatten anybody, although why we’d believe an organization that has covered up as many alien landings as it has is beyond me. Frankly it’s been a fairly rough year for NASA, which scotched the shuttle program earlier in the year due to a lack of gas money and, of course, blew up Alderaan.

Anyway, this brings up a number of questions I have for NASA, which I will post now on my blog to make sure they read them:

  1. How many other satellites do you have up there?
  2. Is it too late to attach a multitude of balloons to them?
  3. When something “falls out of orbit,” I’m guessing it doesn’t “fall” in that graceful, swanlike way that the word “fall” makes you think. I’m guessing it more rockets screaming like a flaming helldemon through the stratosphere, gaining speed and fire with every passing foot, en route to making a noteworthy adjustment to the real estate market in wherever it lands.
  4. Assuming all this talk about “We don’t know where it’s going to land” is correct, what would, hypothetically, the response be if you did know where it was landing? Mass evacuation? Group purchase of umbrella hats? Speedy installation of an impenetrable glass dome? Has anyone thought about this? Seriously, you’d think with all the time you had not launching shuttles this might be coming up in meetings now.
  5. Will this happen to the moon sometime? Probably, right? To be safe I’m putting duct tape over the skylight.
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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

6 responses to “NASA’s plummeting death-satellite: Cloudy with a chance of spaceballs

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