Should I Walk Around With an Opened Umbrella Next Month?

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For protection from space debris,that is. According to the Associated Press: “A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or early March . . .”

“The satellite, which can no longer be controlled, could contain hazardous materials” like “beryllium, a light metal with a high melting point that can lead to chronic, incurable respiratory problems.”

“[T]he spacecraft weighs about 20,000 pounds and is the size of a small bus.” (Whew! My golf umbrella will protect me from a small bus catapulted from outer space, but I’m not so sure about a big one).

“Such an uncontrolled re-entry could risk exposure of U.S. secrets,” but not to worry: “Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,” said “a spokesman for the National Security Council.” Jack Bauer is bound to be the first one on the scene when the thing crashes, in other words.

11:38 am on January 27, 2008