Space metal crashes into couple's home

It makes being struck by lightning look commonplace. A retired couple from Hessle in Yorkshire were alarmed when a chunk of metal crashed through the roof of their house.

The metal, which was too hot to touch with bare hands, measured 12cm x 7cm x 4cm. The police looked into the matter, but decided it could not have come from the ground, so they passed it to the RAF.

The RAF have concluded that it couldn't have come from the air either, but out of the atmosphere altogether.

There are over 5,000 defunct satellites from which bits and pieces drift round in orbit, and these pose an increasing risk - obviously to astronauts, but in some cases to those on the ground as well.

Certainly a chunk of satellite (or alien spacecraft) which has plummeted 250 miles, being heated by friction as it goes, is unlikely to do you much good if it lands on you.

A more interesting question is, how collectible is something like this? A lump of metal doesn't perhaps have as much meaning as a NASA badge or a crucial functioning part from a spacecraft.

Typically though the most crucial question for collectibles is whether an object has been in space at all, and such pieces which have provably fallen from space remain relatively rare.

The last time a piece of debris like this actually hit someone was in 1997. Lottie Williams from Oklahoma was hit on the shoulder by a 5in (12.5-13cm) piece of metal from a rocket fuel tank. Fortunately, she wasn't badly hurt.


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