Astronauts Evacuate to Soyuz Spacecraft as Junk Nearly Hits International Space Station

Astronauts on board the International Space Station had to rush into two docked Soyuz spaceships as space debris nearly missed their homebase, passing just 250 meters (820 feet) from it. In space, that's a pretty close call.

While this is not been the first time that the evacuation protocol has been activated—it happened once in 2009—it was an especially tense moment because the space debris was not detected until it was too late to move the station to a completely safe spot. According to an unidentified Russian source, "the space junk was detected too late for a ducking maneuver."

Russian and NASA officials have stated that this was "not an emergency situation," and the astronauts went back to their normal day after spending thirty minutes inside the Soyuz capsules. Although if the astronauts had to get into their escape pods, surely that qualifies as an emergency situation. Perhaps for them an emergency situation is something actually hitting the station and the astronauts having to fire up their spaceships back to Earth.

I have said it before, and I will say it again here: These guys need lasers, or a better detection system. It would be terrible to lose the station—not even to mention lives—after so many years and money spent on this marvel. [AFP and Fox News]