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Mysterious object that hit Florida man’s roof was part of the International Space Station


Science

When a strange object hit Alejandro Otero’s home in Florida, he had to return early from vacation. Once he got in touch with NASA, he learned it was a piece of space junk from the International Space Station.

The object was a piece of space junk that was expected to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere

Space debris appears in this undated picture that Alejandro Otero posted online after it struck his Florida home. At the time, he was trying to get in touch with NASA to retrieve the debris. (@Alejandro0tero/X)

NASA confirmed Monday that a mystery object that crashed through the roof of a Florida home last month was a chunk of space junk from equipment discarded at the International Space Station (ISS).

The cylindrical object that tore through the home in Naples on March 8 was subsequently taken to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral for analysis.

A gloved hand is seen holding a piece of degraded metal in a lab.
This undated photo provided by NASA shows a recovered chunk of space junk from equipment discarded at the International Space Station. The cylindrical object that tore through a home in Naples, Fla., on March 8 was subsequently taken to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral for analysis. (NASA/The Associated Press)

The space agency said it was a metal support used to mount old batteries on a cargo pallet for disposal. The pallet was jettisoned from the space station in 2021, and the load was expected to eventually fully burn up on entry into Earth’s atmosphere, but one piece survived.

The chunk of metal weighed 0.7 kilograms and was 10 centimetres tall and roughly four centimetres wide.

Homeowner Alejandro Otero told television station WINK at the time that he was on vacation when his son told him what had happened.

Otero came home early to check on the house, finding the object had ripped through his ceiling and torn up the flooring.

“I was shaking. I was completely in disbelief. What are the chances of something landing on my house with such force to cause so much damage,” Otero said. “I’m super grateful that nobody got hurt.”

A screenshot of a post on X (formerly Twitter), wherein Alejandro Otero says the space debris hit his roof and includes images of the damage.
Otero says he was ‘in complete disbelief’ after discovering the debris. (@Alejandro0tero/X)
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