Mysterious Space Debris to Hit Earth on Friday the 13th
A piece of space debris is slated to enter the atmosphere of Earth on the Nov. 13, or Friday the 13th. The space junk will fall near Sri Lanka.
The object is believed to be part of a discarded rocket body, and it will enter Earth’s atmosphere from above the Indian Ocean at around 11:49 a.m. local time, the European Space Agency said.
“The expected [November 13] reentry of what is likely to be a rocket body poses very little risk to anyone but could help scientists improve our understanding of how any object – man-made or natural – interacts with Earth’s atmosphere,” the ESA said. “Observing and studying the reentry will help improve orbital models and reentry prediction tools, and can be used by scientists studying near-Earth objects (NEOs), such as natural asteroids, or the orbital decay of artificial objects such as satellites.”
The object was discovered via the Catalina Sky Survey in 2013, and it’s been observed several times since then.
“This density is in fact compatible with the object being a hollow shell, such as the spent upper stage of a rocket body or part of a stage,” Detlef Koschny, a scientist with ESA’s Space Situational Awareness office, said in a release.
Due to the object, Sri Lanka’s government issued a “no fly zone” and a “fishing ban” over the Southern Sea area. “According to the scientific information, its mass is not sufficient to cause any threat to the area as it appears to be man-made and quite small. Possibly it could burn-up when it enters the earth’s atmosphere and remains will fall into the sea,” the statement says.