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Space Debris Hit My Dad?

Back in 2000-2001, just before my dad retired from the Detroit Board of Education, he was standing outside of the school that he worked at with a coworker when glowing hot blocks — one of which is seen above — began raining down from the sky around them. No aircraft were visible overhead, and being glowing hot, partially melted, and seemingly made of ceramic, I strongly suspect that this was space debris. At almost the size of a box of matches and with a mass of only about 5g it’s terminal velocity near ground level couldn’t have been very high, which would explain how they could have been hit by them and not injured.

I’d forgotten about this until my parents mentioned it to me this past weekend when I moved this object from it’s place of display while helping them around the house. My dad had recently read a news article about a woman who was hit by a small piece of a disintegrating Delta II and can’t help but think that maybe he and his coworkers should be added to the (very short) list of people on Earth who have been hit by space debris.

A number of other photos of this object can be see here. It’s a little dusty from sitting out for a few years, but the hollow cells and ceramic-like appearance are pretty visible.

3 Comments

  1. Buzz
    Buzz September 5, 2012

    The technical term is space junk. It’s technical.

    Best cheers,

  2. Mom
    Mom September 5, 2012

    Wow, your camera clearly shows the dust on it . . . ummm..oops!… I didn’t think my home was that dusty! LOL That was quite a day when the pieces fell – I remember clearly that the other worker was gathering the other pieces up quickly & putting them into his pockets . . . and complaining how hot the items were. It was quite a surprise! The piece was a bit larger than this; it happened to be dropped by a fool who was visiting and has no respect for other people belongings.

  3. Mom
    Mom September 5, 2012

    Oh sorry ~ my mind wandered a bit: Steve, the other views of our Space Debris are very interesting! As many times as I’ve looked this piece over, to see it in pictures really is a nice viewpoint. Thanks!

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