April 14, 2024

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A possible portion of an International Space Station battery pallet may have crashed into a home in Florida

A possible portion of an International Space Station battery pallet may have crashed into a home in Florida

Three years ago, NASA dumped a huge pallet of old batteries From the International Space Station (ISS), hoping to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. A few weeks ago, the space station's junk finally reentered the atmosphere, but a piece of it may have escaped and crashed into a home in Florida.

On March 8, a cylindrical object weighing two pounds has crashed Through the roof of a family home in Naples, Florida, creating a hole in the ceiling and floor. The accident coincided with Re-enter the ISS platformwhich fell through the atmosphere on the same day over the Gulf of Mexico, eventually heading toward southwest Florida.

“I was shaking. I was in complete disbelief. What are the odds of something falling on my house with that much force to cause so much damage?” Alejandro Otero, homeowner, Tell Where are you news?. “I'm very thankful that no one was hurt.” Otero contacted NASA and began seeking help from others online to help him trace the object's origins from the sky.

Otero contacted Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist who has looked at data from thousands of atmospheric reentries, including the International Space Station platform. “A lot of times we get re-entries like this and someone several hundred miles away says, ‘I found this weird thing in my backyard that maybe fell today or maybe it's been there for a week,’ and I roll my eyes and move on,” McDowell said. For Gizmodo. “But this one came through the roof, and it came through the roof at the right time and in a place that was consistent with his presence [a piece of the pallet] So that was promising enough to pursue.

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McDowell helped Otero connect with Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit research and development center. NASA subsequently collected debris from Otero and is currently analyzing it to determine its origin. The time and place correspond to the space station's ancient battery pack, but its source and nature have yet to be confirmed.

In March 2021, a 2.9-ton pallet containing nine batteries was prepared It was thrown into space by the International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm, slowly spiraling toward Earth before uncontrolled reentry. The pallet is the largest object ever launched from the International Space Station, but NASA hoped the entire object would burn up upon return or at least not reach inhabited areas.

However, McDowell expressed concern about the large piece of space junk at the time it was disposed of, arguing that it was too large for uncontrolled reentry. “NASA was rolling the dice…and they made an unlucky roll,” he said.

Uncontrolled disposal of an object of this size is not routine. The old batteries were supposed to be placed inside a Japanese HTV cargo ship for proper disposal. However, the buildup forced NASA to simply throw the batteries inside a charging pad using the space station's robotic arm, resulting in an uncontrolled reentry.

the European Space Agency The European Space Agency (ESA) was also monitoring the pallet's return and estimated that some parts might reach Earth but the probability of injuring someone was very low.

“This is like a little piece of pallet or battery, or a piece of battery housing,” McDowell added. “You had a two-ton thing that came back into the atmosphere, and this little piece of it survived and passed through this poor man's house.” Or at least that seems to be the story.

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It is not clear what would happen if it was proven that the cylindrical-shaped object actually came from the International Space Station, and which organization would be responsible for compensating the family in Florida. In fact, there is not even a proper procedure for civilians to report this type of incident. In this case, it takes a vocal homeowner to catch someone's attention online, but that may not always be the case.

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