Locals in Riacho dos Poços in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão were treated to a little surprise. A 110-pound metal sphere crashed down with a noise like "a plane that had fallen, or an earthquake," according to an onlooker. Of course, everyone's now asking: de-orbited space junk, or gibbering Space Core?
What exactly this component did during its space-faring days is unclear as of yet, but it's certainly not the first spherical piece of junk to fall from the sky, and the reality will most likely be more boring than whatever your first thought was. In the case of a space ball that touched down in Namibia late last year, it was found that it was a "hydrazine tank from an unmanned rocket," according to a news story.
Given that this space ball is hollow, fairly light and spherical in shape, there's a pretty good chance we've got a repeat performance on our hands.
Still, in the moment, it sounds like the nearby residents were pretty startled. From RussiaToday:
Valdir José Mendes, 46, told police the sphere landed several meters from his house leaving a one-meter-deep hole in the yard.
"I heard the noise and I went out to see what caused it. I thought it was a plane that had fallen, or an earthquake," he said.
The noise was such that Mendes was too scared to go outside. However, curiosity got the better of him and he headed outside to find the cashew tree's trunk snapped in half by a mysterious metal sphere lying in a hole nearby.
"It was a huge uproar here. Some feared it was the beginning of the 2012 end of the world, others said it was 'alien', but I think it is a piece of satellite," said Max Garreto Mauro, 25, a resident of Mata Roma.