Space debris from NASA goes straight through the house

Space debris from NASA goes straight through the house
Space debris from NASA goes straight through the house

A family in Florida had the shock of their lives: space debris from the ISS fell right through their house. The piece of rubble only weighs a kilo, but considering where it came from, that’s a big hit.

It is not very common for space debris to fall to Earth: it often burns up as soon as it enters our atmosphere. However, the number of pieces of space debris reaching our Earth will probably increase: space debris is increasing in general. The more we as humans do in space, the more debris is created that has a chance of returning at some point. This special section in Naples proves that not everything burns. In our article Can space debris land on your head? we will write more about what happens with that incoming space debris.

Space debris on Earth

Back to Florida, because what happened there? A fragment of debris from the International Space Station landed on a house and went right through it. It even almost hit someone. Alejandro Otero is the ‘victim’ and he writes: “It appears one of the pieces missed Ft Myers and landed on my house in Naples. It went straight through the roof and through two floors, almost hitting my son.” He said this in response to an expert who indicated that an element had entered the atmosphere between Cancun and Cuba.

The photos don’t lie, but NASA is still investigating whether this is indeed part of space debris from the ISS or not. The mass of this part, weighing only 1 kilo, was gigantic: a whopping 2600 kilograms. This is a battery that the ISS no longer needed: a total of 9 batteries were disposed of in a kind of barrel the size of a large car. It was estimated that everything would burn up in the atmosphere, but at least one part managed to escape.

Legal hassle

If it is proven that NASA is indeed the ‘perpetrator’ of this incident, the company will probably pay for the costs of repairing Otero’s house. But it could also be that it comes from another space company. In any case, the question remains whether NASA will have to pay: Japan is responsible for the box used to transport the batteries. This promises to be a legal battle, although you may wonder how expensive the repair costs are and whether it is worth it for several space companies to get involved in this. In any case, NASA claims that no part of the transport box would survive the atmosphere, so if it is part of it, we are very curious to see how NASA responds.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Space debris NASA straight house


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