International Space Station Trash May Have Hit This Florida House

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A few weeks ago, something from the heavens came crashing through the roof of Alejandro Otero’s home, and NASA is on the case.

In all likelihood, this nearly 2-pound object came from the International Space Station. Otero said it tore through the roof and both floors of his two-story house in Naples, Florida.

Otero wasn’t home at the time, but his son was there. A Nest home security camera captured the sound of the crash at 2:34 pm local time (19:34 UTC) on March 8. That’s an important piece of information because it is a close match for the time—2:29 pm EST (19:29 UTC)—that US Space Command recorded the reentry of a piece of space debris from the space station. At that time, the object was on a path over the Gulf of Mexico, heading toward southwest Florida.

This space junk consisted of depleted batteries from the ISS, attached to a cargo pallet that was originally supposed to come back to Earth in a controlled manner. But a series of delays meant this cargo pallet missed its ride back to Earth, so NASA jettisoned the batteries from the space station in 2021 to head for an unguided reentry.

Otero's likely encounter with space debris was first reported by WINK News, the CBS affiliate for southwest Florida. Since then, NASA has recovered the debris from the homeowner, according to Josh Finch, an agency spokesperson.

Engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center will analyze the object “as soon as possible to determine its origin,” Finch told Ars. “More information will be available once the analysis is complete.”

Ars reported on this reentry when it happened on March 8, noting that most of the material from the batteries and the cargo carrier would have likely burned up as they plunged through the atmosphere. Temperatures would have reached several thousand degrees, vaporizing most of the material before it could reach the ground.

The entire pallet, including the nine disused batteries from the space station’s power system, had a mass of more than 2.6 ...

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