December 23, 2011

Mysterious Metal Ball From Space Falls in Namibia

Brad Lendon, writing for CNN.com:

“A large metal ball that fell from space into the Namibian grasslands last month is not alien, officials say, but that’s about all they know for certain about the object.”

“such reports of metallic spheres falling from space are common in the Southern Hemisphere.”

(Via boingboing.)

It’s not so much that a metal object fell from the sky that’s surprising. There are thousands of objects in low Earth orbit. Gravity eventually has its way with them and they return home.

It’s the observed commonness of objects falling to Earth in the southern hemisphere that’s striking.

Objects in orbit are in constant motion. Their re-entries, over time, form a random distribution over the face of the globe. It’s just as likely for them to crash down in the northern hemisphere as the southern.

Given the greater distribution of open ocean in the southern hemisphere, it makes sense to find these objects less often in the southern hemisphere than the northern, where greater land mass provides more non-liquid covered resting places.

And then there’s this

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