Metal Object Found in Siberia Likely Not from Space

This large metal object was found near a Siberian village and assumed to be space debris (Credits: Russia Today).

On March 18, inhabitants of the Siberian village Otradnesnky found a large metal object in a nearby forest after reportedly seeing it fall out of the sky. Assuming it to be a piece of space debris, they towed it back to the village, then alerted authorities.

The object is about 200 kg, the size of a car and shaped like a cylinder with a domed top. Roscosmos reported that the confiscated object was not related to space technology. It is partially made of titanium and is not radioactive according to officials.

Nick Johnson, head of NASA’s orbital debris office, was inclined to agree with Russian officials. “The object almost certainly is not related to a spacecraft,” Johnson told Life’s Little Mysteries.”It also does not look like part of a launch vehicle which has fallen from orbit.  However, we cannot be definitive in our judgment without better photos and other data. For example, the date the object fell is vitally important, but I did not see reference to it.” 

Some are questioning whether the object fell to Earth at all as opposed to being deposited in the forest via ground transportation. “A final conclusion can be made after a detailed study of the object by experts,” a Roscosmos official was reported as saying. There is no indication of when such a study will be complete.

The video below shows villagers examining the object after it was towed back to Otradnesnky:


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About the author

Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, I now enjoy reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. I lead a fantastic all-volunteer staff as Managing Editor of Space Safety Magazine and keep my pencil sharp as Proposal & Publication Manager for INNOVIM, a NASA/NOAA contractor. In my spare time, you’ll find me advocating for greater appreciation of the International Space Station, supporting International Space University projects, and every so often, reading a book.