Slightly over a month ago in late November, the attention of researchers and layman alike were attracted to the African country of Namibia. The Namibian government announced the discovery of a compact metallic rounded object which in fact had surprisingly fallen from space. While the object itself had actually fallen several weeks before the announcement, the federal government refrained from making the story public until they were able to determine whether or not the unfamiliar ball was a threat to national security and safety. Having determined that the apparatus was not a weapon platform or especially hazardous, the Namibian federal government called for NASAs assistance in identifying it.
The device was spotted by a local farmer, a few days after he and some other locals stated hearing many explosions. He located it some 60ft. away from a modest crater (about 12in. tall and around 13ft. wide)., about 480 miles to the Namibian capital, Windhoek.
A picture was released of the unfamiliar little object, and the story was swiftly grabbed by the world’s largest news agencies. Discussion boards and chat rooms were packed with ‘pro's’ spouting space statistics and throwing out suggestions as conjecture ran wild on news internet sites and throughout the entire internet. Theories ran the field from the innovative to the ludicrous: was the object a weapon? Could it perhaps be a scientific tool of some kind dropped originating from a weather balloon? Most exciting of all, was the sphere terrestrial in origin, or did it indicate at existence beyond what we fully understand?
More often than not the simple truth is at once incredibly easier and more than just a little boring. Adrian Chen f Gawker has come up with the theory that the subject is likely a fuel tank for maintaining hydrazine: the fuel widely used when launching unmanned rockets. While no official message has been published about the exact nature of the object, a press release has been issued to debunk the uncontrolled conjecture that this is the manifestation of some diminutive alien invasion.
Police forensics director Paul Ludik stated that whilst the ball consists of an extremely ‘sophisticated material‘ it absolutely was still plainly man-made. The explosions that the folks witnessed were very likely the sound of the sphere breaking the sound barrier when it fell, or failing that the noise of the ball’s specific collision. The police chief added the sphere would not present any hazard. Outlining why the Namibian officials felt validated in postponing the revealing the story, police deputy inspector general Viho Hifiindaka said, “It is not an explosive system, but instead hollow, but we needed to examine all this first.”
He went on to suggest, while yet unknown, was absolutely a metallic alloy that is certainly ‘known to man’. The items composition has been reported to be just like the compound utilized in the building of most outer space vehicles, putting to rest any suggestions that this ball could be proof of alien life. While the distinct vehicle that launched the device may never be discovered, it can be said without a doubt the ball is absolutely man-made.
This situation came on the heels of a somewhat more demanding statement by NASA concerning the loss of one of its satellites earlier this year. The satellite broke up and went down down to Earth someplace south of the equator.
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Tony Sumptors is an author with special knowledge about space. He can also help you be a better astronomer and get your space facts straight.
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