Something From Space Is Crashing Into The Indian Ocean In Two Weeks, But Don’t Worry, We’re Safe

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Credit: NASA/ESA

Credit: NASA/ESA

Well, if bacon-cancer isn’t going to kill us, then certainly the next likely thing will be some space object crashing into Earth to trigger the next mass extinction.

If you’ve seen the news, the latter event may be happening sooner than we think when a recently discovered object will enter Earth’s atmosphere on Nov. 13. But don’t worry say scientists, the object poses little threat and is actually manmade.

Huh? Let me explain.

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The object, dubbed WT1190F (some have come to call it “WTF” for short), was discovered on Oct. 3 by astronomer Rose Matheny. According to Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait, the object is “very faint, and therefore quite small,” and is “in orbit around the Earth!” (His emphasis.) Plait surmises this means it’s highly unlikely it’s an asteroid.

So what is it?

“Astronomers are pretty sure it’s not an asteroid at all but actually a rocket booster or fuel tank from a previous launch,” said Plait.

Credit: B. Bolin, R. Jedicke, M. Michel

Credit: B. Bolin, R. Jedicke, M. Michel

Phew! But what’s going to happen when it enters Earth’s atmosphere?

Due to the low density researchers calculate the object to have, they believe it will easily burn up harmlessly over the Indian Ocean an estimated 100 km off the southern tip of Sri Lanka.

The interesting thing is that we rarely detect these objects before they enter Earth’s atmosphere until it’s too late. With the advanced warning, and hopefully some clear skies, we may be in for a rare viewing spectacle, not unlike the Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse.

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