A Mysterious Object Is on a Collision Course With Earth

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A mysterious chunk of debris that circled Earth far beyond the Moon is on a collision course with Earth on November 13th, astronomers have concluded. WT1190F is merely one to two meters in length and possibly hollow, but beyond that, astronomers have no knowledge WTF the aptly-named space debris is. It is hoped that this piece of space trash is not going to cause any destruction and WT1190F may burn up in orbit around 06:19 GMT on November 13th. Any residual fragments will splash into the Indian Ocean just south of Sri Lanka, so if anyone out there planning a fishing outing on that very day, maybe postpone. This occurrence will go unobserved by most of the world, but the astronomers who track the path of near-Earth objects are all in a panic state over it. WT1190F’s distinctive re-entry is an exceptional opportunity for researchers to study how incoming objects react with our atmosphere.
Image Credit: NASA

It’s also providing astronomers the chance to test-drive a synchronized network they’ve put in place for times when more hazardous space objects comes a-knockin’.
I, personally, just hope we get to learn what it actually is. While there are several thousands of piece of space trash — satellite wreckages, consumed rocket stages, old paneling — circling close to the Earth, we’ve only traced 20 or so artificial objects in distant orbits. WT1190F, with an extremely elliptical orbit locating twice as far out as the Earth-Moon distance, is a quite unusual piece of trash.

As astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell from Harvard told Nature News, it might be a “lost piece of space history come back to haunt us,” maybe an old rocket piece from the Apollo era.

Now that’d be a pretty awesome thing for humankind to rediscover — even though if it’ll be vanished in a flash.

[Nature news]
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