Photos
Article

By Space.com

A strange metal ball dropped out of the sky and slammed into the remote grassland of northern Namibia recently, according to press reports.

The 14-inch-wide (35-centimeter) metallic sphere hit the ground about 480 miles (750 kilometers) north of Windhoek, the African country's capital. It left a crater 13 inches (33 cm) deep and 12.5 feet (3.8 meters) across, the Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported Thursday.

The metal "space ball" weighs 13 pounds (6 kilograms). It has a rough surface and appears to consist of two halves that were welded together, according to AFP.

The mystery sphere was discovered in mid-November, but local authorities held off on announcing the find until they could perform a few tests. They determined it poses no danger to the public.

"It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first," police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka told AFP.

However, Hifindaka and his colleagues still don't know what the object is or where exactly it came from. They've contacted NASA and the European Space Agency for help, AFP reported.

Locals apparently heard several small explosions a few days before the ball was found. Similar spheres have also been found in Australia and Central America over the last two decades, local authorities said.

Quite a bit of space junk has rained from the sky this year. In September, for example, NASA's defunct Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) — a 6.5-ton craft that monitored climate from 1991 until 2005 — plunged into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Just a month later, Germany's 2.7-ton Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) fell to Earth over the Indian Ocean.

Nobody on the ground was injured by either satellite crash.

An even bigger spacecraft will plummet to Earth soon. Russia's failed Phobos-Grunt Mars probe got stuck in Earth orbit shortly after its Nov. 8 launch, and it's been circling lower and lower ever since.

Most experts predict the 14.5-ton spacecraft will come crashing down by mid-January.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45770560/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.TvPXvvKAld0

Comments
Order by: 
Per page: 
 
  • There are no comments yet
The Social Network Buzz - Comment using your Facebook, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo! account
Info
Administrator
The Black Vault Owner/Operator
12.22.2011 (853 days ago)
Main Space
1591 Views
0 Subscribers
All News by Administrator
Share This Article
Rate
0 votes
Related News
While spiders were busy spinning webs in space, researchers on Earth weaved their knowledge of this activity into educational materials to inspire and motivate students.
13 hours ago · From Administrator
Space rocks big enough to destroy a city hit the Earth much more often than thought, according to an estimate by a private group devoted to preventing disaster from such orbital killers.
Main Space
Yesterday · From Administrator
It's so far away that even if you booked a trip on the speediest of our rockets, you'd have 100 million years to polish your Sudoku skills en route to Kepler 186f.
2 days ago · From Administrator
NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s
Main Space
2 days ago · From Administrator
Russians with smartphones and dashboard cameras captured footage of a meteor that flashed across the night sky near the Arctic Circle over the weekend.
Main Space
3 days ago · From Administrator
Mysterious 'space ball' crashes down in Namibia grasslands