Fallen Space Debris (Random)

Title: Mysterious Debris Crashes Through Plymouth Warehouse Roof
Date: December 1, 2011
Source: CBS Boston

Abstract: A solid piece of metal crashed through the roof of a Plymouth furniture warehouse on Thursday. Investigators say the debris appears to have fallen from the sky, but it did not come from a plane.

Michael Facchini, the owner of Michael’s Wholesale Furniture Distributors found the 3-5 lb. chunk of debris on the floor of his building off Camelot Drive.

YouTube Video

Facchini also discovered a hole in the roof of the building.

“Looked up, the ceiling had a big hole,” he told WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran. “One of the workers came by and noticed the office was a mess and asked if I knew what happened then I looked and saw metal and figured it came from high above.”

No one was hurt by the falling debris.

The FAA has sent an inspector to Plymouth to help investigators.

They are now tasked with trying to figure out where the metal came from.

Officials originally suspected that it could have fallen off of a passing plane, but they have since ruled out that possibility.

“We have no idea what it is. At this point, we can only speculate. No clue,” said Plymouth police Capt. John Rogers. “This would have had to come through with some significant force or velocity to get through the warehouse roof and cause damage.”

At Michael’s Wholesale Furniture Distributors, the fact no one was hurt has employees counting their lucky stars. In fact, they say they’re going to play the lottery tonight after surviving this strange event (CBS Boston, 2011)

Title: Police Eye Texas Man’s Theory On Mystery Metal Chunk That Hit Plymouth Business
Date: December 2, 2011
CBS Boston

Abstract: A Texas man may have solved the mystery of 
a metal object that crashed through the ceiling of a Plymouth warehouse on Thursday.

Danny Dossman, of Belton, Texas says about 6 months ago, the exact same thing happened at his family funeral home.

Dossman has the pictures to prove it.

He saw our story online and called our newsroom.

“As soon as I saw the piece of metal, it looked so similar to the piece of metal that we had found, I knew it had to be related,” he told WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong.

In his case, a chunk of metal flew out of a broken tree grinder at a nearby construction site.

In the Texas case, the object flew some 800 yards. That means any grinding equipment in the entire industrial park in Plymouth could be to blame.

Plymouth police have asked WBZ-TV to forward them Dossman’s pictures so investigators can have a look.

Of course, we’ll keep you posted (CBS Boston, 2011)

Title: Incoming! Meteor Or Comet Fragment Explodes Above Southwestern US
Date: September 19, 2012
Veterans Today

Abstract: On Thursday morning, 13th September 2012, early risers from all over the southwestern United States – California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico – were stunned by the appearance of a vivid luminescent trail high up in the atmosphere. Photos taken by residents reminded me of the glowing trail seen across the Caucasus on the 7th June 2012 (which I have written about 
here). My suspicion that we were looking at the arrival and overhead explosion of yet another meteor or cometary fragment (MoCF) solidified when I read some of the ridiculous claims of the US Army that they had test-fired a rocket/missile at 5.30am local time on the 13th of September.

Folks contacted law enforcement in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado to report “a crash”. A sheriff’s deputy in northern New Mexico said he witnessed “an explosion” and part of the object breaking apart from the main body. No one reported a trail moving from the ground upwards, just a very fast-moving dot in the sky that produced a very bright trail mid-atmosphere, indicating that nothing was launched from the ground.

Damage control quickly went into operation, with Associated Press reporting that:

The “explosion” was a normal separation of the first and second stages of the unarmed Juno ballistic missile that was fired at 6:30 a.m. MT from Fort Wingate near Gallup, N.M., said Drew Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range. The expended first stage landed in a designated area of U.S. Forest Service land.

The Juno I is a large rocket booster used for satellite launches in the 1950s, while the Juno II was a US space launch vehicle used during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Recently a  Juno rocket was used to launch Atlas V towards Jupiter in 2011. So the idea that the US Army launched one of these giants from Fort Wingate in New Mexico in order to “test” it – at the crack of dawn, no less, and over a densely populated area – is incredible, to say the least. Fort Wingate, incidentally, was shut down in 1993.

The Associated Press report got even weirder when it described not one but THREE missiles launched by the US Army:

The Juno missile was then targeted by advanced versions of the Patriot missile fired from White Sands, about 350 miles (560 kilometers) away, as part of a test. Two of the missiles were fired and hit the incoming Juno missile, said Dan O’Boyle, a spokesman for the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, which was in charge of the Patriots used in the test.

The Patriot missiles kill incoming targets by direct strike and don’t explode.

Whatever about Patriot interceptor missiles “killing incoming targets by direct strike and not exploding”, they are again stretching the bounds of credulity with this story about the US Army lobbing missiles at an expensive space rocket in order to blow it to smithereens over US territory. Watch and listen as the Army spokeswoman lies through her teeth about how this incident was “one of our very high-end, very intense things that we do out here… not one of our everyday things“:

Now contrast the Associated Press account of what went down with the following report from a Utah-based media outlet:

It was the 14th missile launched from the Fort Wingate, NM area since the mid ’90s. Depending on the sunlight, it’s visible at times. The rising sun backlit the Juno missile’s contrail and provided a spectacular morning sight for early risers across the region.

The winds in the various layers of atmosphere skewed the missile contrail, creating a swirly cloud pattern seen in the sky. The missile then returned to base.

[...] all debris fell on Army property. It just put on a light show in the process.

Returned to base?? Not only does that contradict the story about two Patriot interceptor missiles hitting the Juno rocket, this scenario is physically impossible because rockets and missiles do not “return to base”! Somebody somewhere down the chain of command must have got their wires crossed. It seems that this addendum to the story was required to account for the reports of part of the fireball/MoCF crashing to earth. Either way, they are getting really desperate in their explanations of the celestial phenomena taking place in our skies.

If missiles were launched in the vicinity of this celestial visitor, then I wonder if they were tracking this MoCF as it approached the planet before firing a missile or two in order to plausibly claim that what folks witnessed was “just a missile test”? (Veterans Today, 2012)

Title: Scientists Confirm 'Tissint' Rocks Fell From Mars
Date: January 18, 2012

Abstract: They came from Mars, not in peace, but in pieces.

Scientists are confirming that 15 pounds of rock collected recently in Morocco fell to Earth from Mars during a meteorite shower last July.

This is only the fifth time in history scientists have chemically confirmed Martian meteorites that people witnessed falling. The fireball was spotted in the sky six months ago, but the rocks weren't discovered on the ground in North Africa until the end of December.

This is an important and unique opportunity for scientists trying to learn about Mars' potential for life. So far, no NASA or Russian spacecraft has returned bits of Mars, so the only samples scientists can examine are those that come here in a meteorite shower.

Scientists and collectors are ecstatic, and already the rocks are fetching big bucks because they are among the rarest things on Earth -- rarer even than gold. The biggest rock weighs over 2 pounds.

"It's Christmas in January," said former NASA sciences chief Alan Stern, director of the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida. "It's nice to have Mars sending samples to Earth, particularly when our pockets are too empty to go get them ourselves."

A special committee Tuesday of meteorite experts, including some NASA scientists, confirmed test results that showed the rocks came from Mars, based on their age and chemical signature.

Astronomers think millions of years ago something big smashed into Mars and sent rocks hurtling through the solar system. After a long journey through space, one of those rocks plunged through Earth's atmosphere, breaking into smaller pieces.

Most other Martian meteorite samples sat around on Earth for millions of years -- or at the very least, decades -- before they were discovered, which makes them tainted with Earth materials and life. These new rocks, while still probably contaminated because they have been on Earth for months, are purer.

The last time a Martian meteorite fell and was found fresh was in 1962. All the known Martian rocks on Earth add up to less than 240 pounds.

The new samples were scooped up by dealers from those who found them. Even before the official certification, scientists at NASA, museums and universities scrambled to buy or trade these meteorites.

"It's incredibly fresh. It's highly valuable for that reason," said Carl Agee, director of the Institute of Meteoritics and curator at the University of New Mexico. "This is a beauty. It's gorgeous."

Meteorite dealer Darryl Pitt said he is charging $11,000 to $22,500 an ounce and has sold most of his supply already. At that price, the Martian rock costs about 10 times as much as gold.

One of the key decisions the scientists made Tuesday was to officially connect these rocks to the fiery plunge witnessed by people and captured on video last summer. The announcement and the naming of these meteorites -- called Tissint -- came from the International Society for Meteoritics and Planetary Science, which is the official group of 950 scientists that confirms and names meteorites.

Tony Irving of the University of Washington did the scientific analysis on the rocks and said there is no doubt they are from the red planet. Several of the world's top experts in meteorites told The Associated Press that they, too, are convinced.

Scientists can tell when meteorites are from Mars because they know what the Martian atmosphere is made of, thanks to numerous probes sent there. The chemical signature of the rocks and the Martian air match, Irving said.

Another clue is that because Mars is geologically active, its rocks tend to be much younger -- millions of years old instead of hundreds of millions or more -- than those from the moon or asteroids.

Most of the known Martian rocks on Earth have been around for centuries or longer and have been found in Antarctica or the desert. They look so similar to dark Earth rocks that if they fell in other places, such as Maryland, they would blend right in and never be discovered.

Because known Martian meteorite falls happen only once every 50 years or so -- 1815 in France, 1865 in India, 1911 in Egypt and 1962 in Nigeria -- this is a once-in-a-career or even a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Jeff Grossman, a NASA scientist who is the meteorite society's database editor, said there is a higher probability of finding "something interesting" from Mars on these rocks because they fell so recently. However, six months is a long time for Earthly contamination to occur, he said.

University of Alberta meteorite expert Chris Herd, who heads the committee that certified the discovery, said the first thing he would do with the rocks would be to rinse them with solvents to try to get rid of earthly contamination and see what carbon-based compounds are left.

But Cornell University astronomer Steve Squyres, who is the principal investigator for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Program and the space agency's go-to guy on Mars, said unfortunately this type of rock isn't the kind scientists are most hoping for. This find is igneous, or volcanic, rock.

A softer kind of rock that could hold water or life would be better, but that type is unlikely to survive a fiery re-entry through Earth's atmosphere, he said.

Scientists are hoping NASA and the European Space Agency team up in 2018 to send robotic spaceships to Mars that can bring back samples of rock and dirt. Just this past weekend, a Russian probe that was going to try to bring samples back from a Martian moon came plummeting back to Earth in failure.

A Martian meteorite that was buried in Antarctica made news in 1996. NASA scientists theorized the rock showed traces of life from Mars. Even the White House declared it the first sign of life outside of Earth. Years of study since then have led much of the astronomy world to conclude there was insufficient evidence to support the claim (CTV, 2012).

Title: Authorities Investigate Loud Boom… Meteor?
October 16, 2012

Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton tells us they "definitely had something happen" in Webster Parish Monday night.  Sheriff Sexton confirms all of the explosion manufacturing facilities and natural gas facilities in Webster Parish have been ruled out as the source.

Sheriff Sexton adds that there is a "possibility that a meteor did hit the ground" in the area, but deputies have not pinpointed an exact location.  He does suspect it happened in a secluded area between Minden and Dixie Inn.

Sheriff Sexton said, first thing Tuesday morning, he will dispatch helicopters in the air to look for any damage.

KSLA News 12 viewer Shana Levick tells us she was driving on I-20 by Dixie Inn when she saw the sky light up a bright orange color.  She said she could see what appeared to be small fire sparks above the tree lines.

Another witness near Dixie Inn told KSLA News 12 photographer Cody Jennings that he saw something flash across the sky streaming from the west or southwest direction.  That witness also reported seeing a bright flash that lasted for a while.

Authorities are investigating a loud boom that shook homes across Northwest Louisiana Monday night.

We are getting reports that people heard an explosion just before 11:30 p.m. from areas including: Minden, Doyline, Haughton, South Bossier and Shreveport.  Callers are also reporting seeing a bright light flash in the sky when they heard the boom. Officials with the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office tell us they have crews searching for the source of the noise.

This story is developing. We will update this story as we learn more (KSLA, 2012).

Title: Stunning Meteor Lights Up California Sky
October 18, 2012
My Fox LA

A streaking fireball lit up California skies and stunned stargazers Wednesday night, and professional observers say more meteors are on the way.

The exploding streak was visible over the San Francisco Bay area and other parts of Northern California, and there were also reports of a loud boom.

"It looked like a plane crash or rocket," said Philip Terzian, an amateur astronomer who happened to photograph the meteor while atop a ridge around Palo Alto.

Terzian had gathered there with a group of other astronomy enthusiasts. The group had not met in some time and just happened to be there for the meteor.

"It was a 'Holy Cow!' moment," he told The Associated Press.

Other observers described the streak as crescent shaped, and reddish orange in color.

The sound people reported could have been a sonic boom from the meteor traveling faster than the speed of sound, said Jonathan Braidman, an astronomy instructor with the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland.

"It's like a jet fighter," he said.

Braidman said the meteor was likely metal and rock from the asteroid belt. Astronomers at the center estimated its size as that of a car although Braidman said it probably broke into much smaller pieces before hitting the ground and then scattered over hundreds of miles.

Wednesday's light streak comes as astronomers expect a more dramatic light display this weekend that is part of the large, fast Orionid meteor shower, so-named because it has the Orion constellation as a backdrop. The Orion meteors are space debris from Halley's Comet, and they become visible as the earth crosses through their trail, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Braidman said he does not think Wednesday's meteor and this weekend's Orionid shower are connected.

The shower's peak is supposed to be Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Wednesday's meteor sighting was at least the second in Northern California in recent months. A meteor that exploded April 22 was seen over a large part of the region and Nevada.

That explosion prompted a group of scientists to go up in a slow-moving airship and look for meteorites (My Fox LA, 2012).