The last time we worried about the sky falling on our heads like Chief Vitalstatistix in that village in Gaul was when Nasa’s space station Skylab spiralled out of Earth’s orbit in the summer of 1979 and turned into a 77-ton space cannonball.
Nasa remotely fired booster rockets that, it hoped, would plunge it in the Indian Ocean. With touchdown close to our home, and not that of any American, India went into Armageddon panic – while many Americans hosted ‘Skylab parties’. Eventually, most of the chunk fell into the ocean on July 11, 1979 – the rest in almost unpopulated western Australia. No one was hurt. This time, where will Long March 5B fall?
Too early to say. Scientists believe in the water. After all, 71% of the planet has the stuff. But with no one sure yet, do put on a helmet or hard hat when you start searching the sky. And don’t forget to wear your Covid mask.