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April 18, 2024

Debris from Space Station crash into Florida home destroying two floors

Filed under: Astronomy / Space,Science Related — Suramya @ 11:38 AM

A long time ago I watched a show called ‘Dead Like Me‘ where the main character (George) is killed in the pilot episode by a toilet seat falling from the deorbiting Mir space station. At that time it was portrayed as an absurd way to die and George is understandably upset about it.

Showing that at times life does imitate fiction, last month a piece of space junk from the International Space Station crashed through the roof and two floors of a Florida home. This was confirmed by NASA earlier this week. NASA and others have been dumping things into orbit with the assumption that they will burn up during re-entry and this debris was from a cargo pallet intentionally released from the space station three years ago.

The piece of space junk is roughly cylindrical in shape and is about 4-inches tall and 1.6-inches wide. NASA said agency staff studied the object’s features and metal composition and matched it to the hardware that had been jettisoned from the space station in 2021.

At that time, new lithium-ion batteries had recently been installed at the space station, so the old nickel hydrogen batteries were packed up for disposal. The space station’s robotic arm released the 5,800-pound cargo pallet containing the batteries over the Pacific Ocean, as the outpost orbited 260 miles above the Earth’s surface, according to NASA.

I think that this habit is a bad idea and should be reconsidered. When items burn up in the atmosphere they release toxic byproducts that pollute the environment and if the item doesn’t burn up completely (as was the case here) they can cause significant damage when they crash into the Earth.

– Suramya

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