Dial *67. Dial up a 7-11 in the middle of the night and ask the clerk if he’s working there all by himself. Then ask what would happen if someone tried to rob the store. Then ask the clerk if he’s afraid of death.
I saw this thing last night outside our living room window and it scared the shit out of me for a few seconds. Turns out it wasn’t a huge scary meteor.
Russian Mars probe Phobos Grunt, stranded in Earth orbit since its main engines failed to fire after launch on Nov. 8th, is beginning to sink back into the atmosphere. Analysts expect re-entry to occur sometime in early to mid-January 2012. Until then, it is possible to see the doomed probe zipping brightly across the night sky. Kevin Fetter video-recorded this pass over his home in Brockville, Canada, on Dec. 8th:
In the video, Phobos Grunt was shining about as brightly as a 3rd-magnitude star, but it can get much brighter than that. Tom Smith watched it fly over Anaheim, California, during the early hours of Dec. 9th: “Phobos Grunt was brighter than the 1st-magnitude star Deneb and moving noticeably faster than the International Space Station,” he reports.