The concept of blowing up the ball of garbage is a potential plan for dealing with asteroids and other Near Earth Objects (NEOs) on a collision course with earth. Farnsworth: "Now, you'll only have one chance to destroy the ball. After that, it will be so close to Earth that blowing it up would cause garbage to rain over the entire planet, killing billions." Destroying approaching asteroids, regardless of their proximity to Earth, has the tendency to reduce them to a cloud of smaller asteroids still heading toward Earth. The means of dealing with collisions currently envisioned involves diverting the path of an asteroid with conventional propulsion systems or their higher powered counterparts, nuclear electric propulsion systems. The first step in perfecting the NEO diversion technology, successfully landing on an asteroid, has already been achieved,  but key to any type of asteroid collision prevention is long range detection, unceasing vigilance, and prompt action (read: funding).
The films Armageddon and Deep Impact, were both released in 1998 and both dealt with asteroid collisions. Armageddon dealt more with the drama of the space mission and many of its reputed 168 scientific inaccuracies are from those scenes; Deep Impact depicted more of the effect of the crisis on Earth.
Numerous references to 20th and 21st century consumer items found on the surface of the garbage ball, including a Bart Simpson doll, a Mr. Spock collector plate and a deposit of AOL floppy disks.
In 2620, "to end all those stupid jokes once and for all", Uranus was renamed to Urectum.