5 Weird Examples of Space Junk Hitting Earth

Meanwhile, expect falling satellite next Friday

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 17, 2011 10:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – The 6-ton satellite about to fall on Earth is coming faster than expected, and NASA now thinks it will arrive next Friday, give or take a day, reports Space.com. NASA still isn't sure where the defunct UARS satellite will land, but it thinks the odds of it hurting anyone (even after it breaks into about 25 big pieces) are remote. In honor of the event, National Geographic rounds up five unusual examples of space junk landing on Earth, including:

  • A woman in Oklahoma felt something brush her shoulder during a walk in 1997. It was a piece of a Delta II rocket, "the only space debris known to have hit someone." She wasn't hurt.
  • A hiker in Colorado found a still-warm spherical object in a crater in March of this year. It turned out to be the tank from a Russian Zenit-3 rocket.
  • A beachcomber in Corpus Christi, Texas, found the nose of an Ariane 5 rocket in 2000. NASA officials had to convince the man not to turn it into a hot tub.
Click for the full list.

A screen grab from NASA video of the satellite coming to Earth next week.
A screen grab from NASA video of the satellite coming to Earth next week.   (NASA)
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