An “uncontrolled” Chinese rocket set to crash into Earth this weekend has sparked a wave of memes and jokes online as experts predicted where in the world the space debris will make impact.
The Long March 5B Rocket—approximately 22 tons and 100 feet tall—is expected to re-enter the atmosphere around May 8 but its “exact entry point” cannot be determined until hours before the event, according to Defense Department spokesperson Mike Howard.
Launched from China’s Hainan Island on April 29, the rocket represents the first of 11 missions scheduled in an effort to complete a permanent Chinese space station. It carried the Tiangong space station module, a living quarters designed to house three astronauts occupying the station upon completion.
Experts have predicted that the booster traveling at 18,000 miles per hour will fall between 41.5 degrees north latitude and 41.5 degrees south latitude, which puts Chicago slightly too far north to be in danger of debris and New York within the zone. On Friday night, the Aerospace Corporation predicted that debris could make an impact in waters near New Zealand.
On Saturday, the Aerospace Corporation predicted that re-entry will occur at around 11:30 p.m. ET.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday that the upper stage of the rocket is expected to disintegrate as it re-enters the atmosphere.
While the rocket isn’t expected to pose danger to individuals on land, a wave of memes and jokes have flooded the internet as it hurtled back to Earth.
Comedian George Wallace tweeted, “My destiny has always been to heroically absorb the impact of the Chinese rocket while shouting ‘Whatnot.’”
My destiny has always been to heroically absorb the impact of the Chinese rocket while shouting “Whatnot”.
— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) May 8, 2021
“NASA: A #ChineseRocket is going to hit earth on May 8th. It probably won’t hit you. Me: So you’re telling me there’s a chance,” comedian Blake Hammond tweeted.
“That one guy who goes outside his house expecting a beautiful saturday afternoon, but instead gets smashed by the rocket falling out of the sky #ChineseRocket,” tweeted user @shoopdahoop25 tweeted, alongside a photo of a skeleton inside a large rock.
“Yo what’s this in my back yard?! #ChineseRocket,” user @_akaCJ tweeted, alongside an image of a rocket photoshopped into a backyard.
“Outside on my last straw hoping the #ChineseRocket lands on top of me,” tweeted user @freelanceburner, alongside an image of actor Ben Affleck.
“Y’all know that the only LOGICAL place for the #ChineseRocket to crash land is #Florida right?” user @Spacelysprocke5 tweeted, alongside a GIF of cartoon character Bugs Bunny removing Florida from the U.S. map.
“Damn that’s crazy, really hope no #ChineseRocket parts fall out of the sky when im sitting out in the open, completely unprotected, and definitely don’t wanna d!e,” tweeted user @DARLINGSENPAII, alongside a picture of a Spongebob character sunbathing.
“Isn’t it weird how this Chinese rocket is about to re-enter the atmosphere in 4 hours… which just so happens to be the exact time Elon Musk will be making his appearance on SNL?” tweeted user @xrpinfinity.
isn’t it weird how this Chinese rocket is about to re-enter the atmosphere in 4 hours…
which just so happens to be the exact time Elon Musk will be making his appearance on SNL?
— ︎ (@xrpinfinity) May 8, 2021
“A #Chinese rocket—or at least part of one—is barreling toward the #Earth right now in an uncontrolled reentry, where it’s expected to land … somewhere unknown, which is terrifying,” tweeted user @hibarb7, alongside an image of a man screaming while a rocket crashes toward Earth.
“Me after hearing about the #ChineseRocket debris,” user @P1SportsPhD tweeted, alongside a GIP of cartoon character Homer Simpson retreating into a hedge.
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