‘We’re totally gutted,’ said Professor Reg Braithwaite, senior director of Britain’s National Space Centre. Speaking from mission control on the eleventh floor of a block of flats in Didsbury, Mr Braithwaite said it was like a bad joke come true.
'Scientists know there’s a bit of dark matter floating around out there, but dark leaves were completely unexpected. They’ve made the gravity waves slippery, and it would be impossible for the spacecraft to grab onto them using its telescopic arm and onboard Espresso machine.
'We were hoping to give the asteroid a nudge and hopefully a nudge and a wink. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though we’re going to get much further than Stockport.
'The team did have a Zoom chat with universe expert Professor Brian Cox, but sadly we all fell asleep after ten minutes. By our calculations, using Einstein’s theory of relativity, where E is Elm, M is maple, and C is Chestnut, we’ve come to the startling conclusion that if there are leaves in space, then there must also be trees in space.'