"Space ball" falls to Namibia

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"Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby RocketMan » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:20 pm

Image

Link

What especially made me scratch my head was this:

It was found 18 metres from its landing spot, a hole 33 centimetres deep and 3.8 meters wide.

Several such balls have dropped in southern Africa, Australia and Latin America in the past twenty years, authorities found in an Internet search.
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:56 pm

southern Africa, Australia and Latin America


So, near the equator. Perhaps that provides a clue. :shrug:
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:25 pm

http://reentrynews.aero.org/recovered.html

There are spherical pressure vessels that have fallen in various places over the years, but you'd think they would recognize it if that's what it is. I have no idea what those used in spacecraft look like.
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby Nordic » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:38 pm

Its incredible that it could have re-entered the atmosphere, and then bounced off the earth at mach-whatever (and heated way the hell up) with nary a scratch. WTF?
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby MacCruiskeen » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:00 pm

Pele'sDaughter wrote:
southern Africa, Australia and Latin America


So, near the equator. Perhaps that provides a clue. :shrug:


Not necessarily near the equator (e.g., could be, say, Namibia or Tasmania or Patagonia. I don't know.)
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby MacCruiskeen » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:02 pm

Nordic wrote:Its incredible that it could have re-entered the atmosphere, and then bounced off the earth at mach-whatever (and heated way the hell up) with nary a scratch. WTF?


...and stayed spherical. :shock: What kind of metal is that? NB, it was "hollow".

It was made of a “metal alloy known to man” and weighed six kilogrammes (13 pounds), said Ludik.


Well, why not name the alloy? Why so wilfully mysterious?
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby justdrew » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:17 pm

it probably slowed to terminal velocity during reentry, so maybe 75-100 miles per hour at impact.

Anyone remember the story of another "thing" that landed in Africa a couple years ago? It was reported as having lights and possibly making sounds IIRC, very remote location. Never heard any followup, and don't remember good keywords to google with.
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby barracuda » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:22 pm

Here's a shot of a Delta II booster rocket showing the red titanium pressure vessels:

Image

Generally speaking, these rockets have short duration burn times, and probably never really leave earth's atmosphere most of the time. Here's a recovered example:

Image

The last Delta launch was on October 28 of this year, which puts the OP object in the ballpark.

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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby Nordic » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:09 pm

Ding ding ding! Mystery solved!

RI does it again.
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby Mike Stark » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:29 am

a little help re: why it didn't burn up on re-entry the way (mostly iron) meteorites do...

it's got everything to do with velocity.

meteorites are on independent trajectories in space and can easily (relative to earth) be moving at tens or hundreds of thousands per hour, speeds at which atmospheric friction will impart enough heat to incinerate the object.

something man made that is launched into space, or falls from a geo-synchronous orbit, will generally not exceed its terminal velocity and won't endure so much friction that it heats to incineration.
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby Stephen Morgan » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:25 am

justdrew wrote:it probably slowed to terminal velocity during reentry, so maybe 75-100 miles per hour at impact.

Anyone remember the story of another "thing" that landed in Africa a couple years ago? It was reported as having lights and possibly making sounds IIRC, very remote location. Never heard any followup, and don't remember good keywords to google with.

I was thinking of one of the billion year old balls dug up in south africa and mentioned by Cremo.
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Re: "Space ball" falls to Namibia

Postby crikkett » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:14 pm

http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/man-e ... oof-160651

Man escapes as satellite piece crashes through roof

Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: December 25, 2011 14:39 IST

Moscow: A Siberian resident miraculously escaped serious injury or even death when a fragment of a Russian communication satellite crashed through the roof of his house.

A Meridian satellite that was launched Friday from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia on board a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket crashed near the Siberian city of Tobolsk minutes after lift-off.

Eight satellite fragments were found in an area some 100 km from the city of Novosibirsk.

A titanium ball of about five kg fell on to the roof of a house in Ordyn district.

The house owner, Andrei Krivorukov, had gone out to the yard to fetch firewood minutes before the crash.

The village administration has promised to repair the house at its expense.

The Meridian-series of communication satellites are used for both civilian and military purposes. They are designed to provide communication between vessels, airplanes and coastal stations on the ground, as well as to expand a network of satellite communications in the northern regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East.

The Soyuz-2 is an upgraded version of the Soyuz rocket, which has been a workhorse of Russia's manned and unmanned space programmes since the 1960s.

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Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/man-e ... -160651&cp
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