HomeIn MediaGadget NewsNASA Confirms It’s Space Trash Pierced Florida Man’s Roof

    NASA Confirms It’s Space Trash Pierced Florida Man’s Roof

    NASA Confirms It’s Space Trash Pierced Florida Man’s Roof

    According to NASA, a piece of trash that was unexpectedly discarded from the International Space Station survived a fiery reentry from orbit last month and broke through the roof of a Florida home.

    On March 8, the federal agency released a slab of trash into space that weighed roughly 5,800 pounds (2,630 kilograms). It was anticipated that the trash would break up as it descended into Earth’s atmosphere.

    However, a tiny fragment of the cargo—about the size of a smartphone—survived, and last month it crashed into a Naples, Florida, home, NASA announced in a news release dated April 15.

    “What an amazing sound it made. Days after the incident in March, Alejandro Otero, the homeowner, told CNN affiliate WINK News, “It almost hit my son.” “He was two rooms over and heard it all.”

    A narrow escape and an odd finding

    According to Otero, he identified the object as potentially being a piece of space debris that broke through his roof.

    “A large hole was created in the ceiling and floor by something that tore through the house,” Otero, who claimed he was not home at the time, described. “I am so happy that no one was harmed.”

    According to a statement issued by NASA on Monday, the agency verified the debris’s identity as a piece of abandoned space station cargo pallet after examining it at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

    The statement from NASA stated that “the International Space Station will perform a detailed investigation of the jettison and re-entry analysis to determine the cause of the debris survival and to update modelling and analysis, as needed.

    Further inquiries concerning the investigation and whether the federal agency had modified its plans for future space station trash disposal were not immediately answered by the federal agency. 

    Garbage disposal in space

    NASA regularly uses Dragon spacecraft, manufactured by SpaceX, to transport large quantities of cargo, waste, and scientific experiments back to Earth from the International Space Station.

    A pallet of outdated nickel-hydrogen batteries was disposed of differently by authorities in 2021, though, following the installation of new batteries on the space station.

    NASA claims that the trash, which was about the weight of an SUV, was pried from the outside of the space station and launched into Earth’s orbit by a robotic arm. 

    The idea behind the federal agency’s plan was the conviction that the abandoned batteries, which were travelling at over 22 times the speed of sound, would eventually catch fire as they entered the atmosphere.

    When the pallet was discarded on March 11, 2021, NASA stated that the trash “will orbit Earth between two and four years before burning up harmlessly.”

    In a statement released on March 8, the European Space Agency, which regularly monitors space objects that are aimed towards Earth, stated that “the casualty risk—the chance of someone getting hit—is extremely low, even though some parts may reach the ground.

    NASA’s orbiting laboratory partner, the European Space Agency (ESA), states that “at this time, large uncertainties, primarily driven by fluctuating levels of atmospheric drag, prevent more precise predictions.

    Not the first uncontrolled reentry

    To be clear, there are thousands of pieces of unmanaged debris in space, such as leftover rocket parts, abandoned satellites, and wreckage from weapons tests and collisions with other satellites.

    As it speeds toward Earth, the great majority of the debris does burn up completely.

    But other large objects have previously returned from space in an uncontrollably manner; one such object was a 22-ton Chinese-built rocket body that was dumped in the Pacific Ocean in 2022. Most likely, some of the rocket’s components made it to the bottom of the ocean. 

    The China National Space Administration came under heavy fire from members of the international aerospace community, including NASA, for the decision. However, the debris that hit Otero’s home was the outcome of inaccurate predictions regarding the behaviour of space trash.

    According to John Crassidis, a space debris expert and Moog Professor of Innovation at the University of Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, NASA already has strict policies in place to prevent objects from colliding in space—or having an impact on populated areas on Earth.

    However, the federal agency erred greatly in assuming that the debris it threw away in 2021 would not endanger people on Earth when it re-entered the atmosphere in March. He went on to say that if the space agency tried a similar trash disposal method in the future, it should have been more cautious in its analysis.

    I believe that this served as a useful wake-up call to acknowledge that we need to improve, Crassidis said. The United States should never have found itself in a scenario where an object of this magnitude collapsed and destroyed a home in Florida.


    In an attempt to determine why the object struck Otero’s house rather than igniting into flames, NASA says it will look into the equipment dump’s jettison and re-entry. According to a news release from the space agency, NASA specialists use engineering models to estimate how objects heat up and break apart during atmospheric re-entry.

    David Novak
    David Novak
    For the last 20 years, David Novak has appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV around the world, reviewing the latest in consumer technology. His byline has appeared in Popular Science, PC Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Electronic House Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, Forbes Technology, Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Glamour Magazine, T3 Technology Magazine, Stuff Magazine, Maxim Magazine, Wired Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana Business Journal, Better Homes and Garden, CNET, Engadget, InfoWorld, Information Week, Yahoo Technology and Mobile Magazine. He has also made radio appearances on the The Mark Levin Radio Show, The Laura Ingraham Talk Show, Bob & Tom Show, and the Paul Harvey RadioShow. He’s also made TV appearances on The Today Show and The CBS Morning Show. His nationally syndicated newspaper column called the GadgetGUY, appears in over 100 newspapers around the world each week, where Novak enjoys over 3 million in readership. David is also a contributing writer fro Men’s Journal, GQ, Popular Mechanics, T3 Magazine and Electronic House here in the U.S.

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