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Mysterious Object Crashes Through Man’s Home, Prompts NASA Investigation

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Mysterious Object Crashes Through Man’s Home, Prompts NASA Investigation

Mysterious Object Crashes Through Man’s Home, Prompts NASA Investigation

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Residents of a home in Florida received the shock of their lives when, on March 8, around 2:30 in the afternoon, a mysterious object crashed into the place, going through two floors and tearing up the roof.

It even nearly hit the homeowner’s son on its way down. Naturally, everyone is curious about this mysterious object, and NASA is investigating it.

Details of the Incident

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Alejandro Otero, the owner of the violated building in Naples, Florida, reported the incident on X (formerly Twitter). Otero responded to another post about an equipment pallet re-entering the Earth over the Gulf of Mexico.

Otero asked the previous poster, “Can you please assist with getting NASA to connect with me? I’ve left messages and emails without a response.”

NASA’s Response

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It took a while, but NASA finally responded. In the past, Otero was told, “NASA are not the right people to contact,” and was referred to The Aerospace Corporation instead.

However, it turns out that NASA has indeed contacted Otero. NASA spokesperson Joshua Finch said, “NASA collected an item in cooperation with the homeowner and will analyze the object at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as soon as possible to determine its origin.”

A Wait for Confirmation

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Otero handed over the object to NASA and sought to get the federal government to take responsibility for the damages. He eagerly awaited “communication from the responsible agencies, as their assistance is crucial in resolving the damages from this deliberate release.”

Possible Ideas 

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The object found in Otero’s house may have come from a large cargo pallet hauling batteries belonging to JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). This pallet was considered to be re-entering Earth’s atmosphere over the Gulf of Mexico.

The batteries were discarded from the ISS in 2021 and should have combusted in the atmosphere. However, it seems likely that one piece survived the re-entry. Otero thinks the debris was one of nine drained batteries from the ISS.

A Liability Claim

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Otero or his insurance company could sue the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act regardless of who owns that object. Michelle Hanlon, executive director of the Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi, has confirmed this.

She told Ars Technica, “If it is a human-made space object which was launched into space by another country, which caused damage on Earth, that country would be absolutely liable to the homeowner for the damage caused.”

Pallets’ Re-Entry Was Monitored

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The ESA (European Space Agency) supposedly monitored the pallet’s re-entry and stated that the risk of space debris falling to Earth and hitting a person was “very low.”

Large space objects re-enter our planet’s atmosphere naturally weekly. However, most of the fragments from these objects never make it to the ground because they burn up in the atmosphere. In addition, the ESA stated, “Most spacecraft, launch vehicles, and operational hardware are designed to limit the risks associated with a re-entry.”

Space Junk is a Problem

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Not many know it, but space is littered with debris. At least 30,000 large pieces of space junk are monitored by space agencies worldwide, but the smaller pieces are too hard to detect.

Some suggestions have been made to collect such debris from the stratosphere, as they are considered environmental hazards. These suggestions include grabbing junk with nets, collecting with clawed robots, or firing a 0.8-kilometer (0.5-mile) long tether from another spacecraft to bring it in.

Skeptics Are Worried

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With the recent incident, some people have become even more skeptical about the minimal risk of being hit by falling space junk. In 2022, Fabian Zander, a Senior Research Fellow in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern Queensland, wrote that the chances of a person or an earthly object being struck are higher thanks to the increasing number of objects humans send to space.

Tale of a Survivor

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History has shown that space objects crash on Earth near human settlements at an alarming frequency. One woman witnessed such an event and fortunately lived to tell the tale.

Her name is Lottie Williams, and she was hit on the shoulder by space debris after she saw what appeared to be a meteor-like “flash of light” on her walk in the park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Luckily for her, the object was light, not traveling very fast, and only struck a “glancing blow,” so Ms. Williams continues to live with a fascinating tale to tell.