Asteroid LO0R011 was identified early on Monday morning by the NASA Asteroid Detection Agency (NADA). It's orbit has been calculated to have it land somewhere near Beijing with enough force to wipe out all life on earth except for a cockroach living in a garbage can in New York. At quarter-past twelve, GMT (naturally), a week on Thursday.
"This is a particularly hopeless situation," said Benjamin Downs, of NADA. "We're completely out of ideas."
According to Downs, the asteroid is far too close to push off course using lasers, painting one side of it white, or attaching rocket motors to it.
"All this will do," he said, "is make it hit Shanghai and not Beijing."
Nuclear warheads are an option, but NADA are reluctant to employ them.
"We don't really want to go go the nuclear route for a couple of reasons," said Downs. "Firstly, we don't have a rocket powerful enough to reach the asteroid until it's virtually a meteor; secondly, all that will happen is that a flaming ball of radioactive rock will hit the Earth. This will also wipe out the New York cockroach."
The Chinese, however, are not so ready to give up. It being their city that will be flattened first.
"We have a plan," said Chew Wing. "We are getting together one million Chinese men, whilst fifteen million Chinese man women and children make a massive piece of paper. Eight hundred gramme paper, none of our usual export paper."
According to Wing, this paper will be stretched out in the path of the asteroid as it crashes through the atmosphere.
"We're confident this will work," said Wing. "Paper does beat rock. Our only risk is if somebody brings scissors to the party!"