NASA reveals space object that hit roof of Florida man

NASA has finished its investigation into a mysterious object falling from space and crashing in Florida this March.

On March 8th, Florida resident Alejandro Otero’s house was struck by an unidentified object from the sky. “It tore through the roof and went through two floors. Almost hit my son,” Otero said in a post on X.

At the time, NASA told Cybernews that it had collected the item in cooperation with the homeowner and would analyze the object at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida “as soon as possible” to determine its origin.

In NASA’s statement on April 15th, the space agency confirmed that the object is part of a cargo pallet containing aging nickel hydride batteries. In 2021, NASA used the International Space Station’s (ISS) robotic arm to dump the old hardware into space while replacing it with a new one.

It was expected that the 2.9 tons of space debris would fully burn upon its entrance into Earth’s atmosphere on March 8th, 2024. Unfortunately, “a piece of hardware survived re-entry and impacted a home in Naples, Florida.”

The ISS will perform further analysis to determine how the space junk survived to update the agency’s models that estimate how the space objects heat up and break apart during atmospheric re-entry.

NASA’s analysis showed that the mysterious object, weighing nearly 1kg, was a stanchion from the NASA flight support equipment used to mount the batteries on the cargo pallet.

It’s not the first incident this year when space objects re-entered the planet’s orbit. Just this month, Southern California witnessed a fireball burning across the night sky that has been confirmed by US Space officials to be the re-entry of a Chinese orbital module launched in 2022.

Earth is on the path of becoming a garbage “Saturn”

The space junk problem is on the rise, as more and more space objects are circulating Earth’s orbit. One study suggests that the scale of satellite debris is on course to give Earth its very own Saturn-like rings made up entirely of space junk.

The space debris might turn back on Earth’s population by putting it at risk of injuries and destruction. In November 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned that falling debris from SpaceX‘s Starlink satellites could injure or kill a person every two years and threaten to down an aircraft.

There have been calls for regulation, with NASA and other regulatory bodies calling for an international treaty, currently being debated at the UN, that would include measures to make both satellite producers and users responsible for satellites and debris from the time they launch through to the end of their lives.

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