Strange metal sphere that fell from the sky


103 Responses to “Strange metal sphere that fell from the sky”

  1. robuluz says:

    Yeah, those things are EVERYWHERE down here.

  2. Ryan Adams says:

    Do not taunt Namibian happy fun sphere

  3. Kommkast says:

    NASA made it raaaaaaaaaaaaain balls. 

  4. hugemonkey says:

    The original article said 3.6 foot circumference, which would make it a little over 13 inches across. Isn’t that about the size of Sputnik?
    Edit: No, Sputnik was 23″ across.

  5. Mister44 says:

    Probably some sort of tank for a satellite.

  6. A tank from the ISM module of a Soyuz?

  7. bcsizemo says:

    Given if this thing was in space, would it not have deformed on re-entry due to heating?

    • A heavily built tank, perhaps engineered to hold 6000 psi of gas, could survive re-entry with little damage. There are pictures of bigger tanks than this from Columbia which looked okay after crashing to Earth.

    • jere7my says:

      It did. Those bumps are heating deformations.

    • David Hall says:

      Depends totally on the terminal velocity of the object in question.  A hollow tank might never achieve speeds (and thus heat) high enough to lead to damage.

      • bwcbwc says:

        Actually objects that fall from orbit start out at orbital velocity, which can be much faster than terminal velocity. Heat of reentry is due to objects exceeding their terminal velocity.  A sphere would have a relatively high terminal velocity, so the delta is smaller than for (say) te heat shields on manned vehicles.

  8. aestetix says:

    Thank the gods it’s not a coke bottle.

  9. Stefan Jones says:

    Somewhere on Kepler 22B:




    “THEY ATE IT.”

  10. bcsizemo says:

    It’s Moontrap, I knew it was real.

  11. morcheeba says:

    I’m no expert, but looks an awful lot like a helium tank from a Russian Salyut 7-Cosmos 1686 (Kosmos 1686) spacecraft assembly.  Here’s one that came down in 1991:
    It perfectly matches the 3.6 feet in circumference and weighed 16 pounds instead of 13.

  12. They don’t know what it is but they know they are real common, wtf?

    • OT post, probably going to get deleted, but are you guys okay over there? Every time I check the news there has been another one.

      • Yeah no fatalities, a few people with chest pains and such, but otherwise fine, most of everything that can fall down fell down in the previous quakes, but the 6km deep magnitude 6 quake was fairly nasty and only 20km from me, wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

        But then our house was totally destroyed in the Feb quake, so we are in rental properties now, so the minor damage that this house sustained is something for the owner to worry about.

        But more importantly everyone is safe.

  13. v85rawdeal says:

    It’s Sergeant Major Zero

  14. Xof says:

    You know, seeing “CHECK OUT THE BOING BOING GIFT GUIDE AND SORT OUT ALL YOUR LAST-MINUTE GIFTS!” right above this posting is really delightful. I wanted to click through and see where i could get my very own mysterious sphere that fell from the sky.

  15. technogeekagain says:

    Quick point:  “Fell from the sky” does not necessarily mean “fell from space”. Could be something off a malfunctioning airplane, for example. Or tornado debris. Or some kid playing with a homebrew cannon.

    Looking closer to home might yield better answers.

  16. Guest says:

    Keep Looking Up

  17. “…such reports of metallic spheres falling from space are common in the Southern Hemisphere.”

      — Wizardry, 1981

  18. Mazoola says:

    Funny — I saw this on another site earlier today and immediately thought of the spherical tanks (I think I painted them salmon-colored, for some long-forgotten reason) from the legendary MPC 1:100 Vostok model rocket I built as a ‘tween.

  19. Lyle Hopwood says:

    The phrase “known to man” is such a groaning cliche. I really hope a junior reporter (or perhaps ‘cub reporter’ would be better here) phoned up and breathlessly asked, “Is this thing made of an alloy unknown to man?” and got an answer using his own phrasing. Because if the director of the forensic whatsit institute simply called a conference and out of the blue said, “It’s made of an alloy known to man!” then I’d think there was something wrong with him. 

    • LaGrange says:

      The serious mental condition you’re referring to is known as “English as second language”.

    • scav says:

      Also, even if you wanted to emphasise that it’s not of alien origin – why would extraterrestrial aliens necessarily use alloys *not* known to man? Everyone has the same physics after all.

      • wrybread says:

        Well, we’ve always had the same physics, but only relatively recently did we become aware of (for example) titanium…

  20. Warren_Terra says:

    I for one welcome our mysterious sky sphere overlords.

  21. Stickarm says:

    Someone should tell the folks from MythBusters that their other cannonball has been found.

  22. stygyan says:

    Woah. Did they find a monkey-tailed boy next to it? Has there been reports of a giant gorilla?

  23. Will Clark says:

    I blame Mythbusters…

  24. Will Bueche says:

    The Space Ball dropped? Happy Space New Year everyone, woo!

    • I remember that (Jacksonville is my hometown). Not sure what happened, but I do know that the local paper mill insisted that it was a piece of equipment from their operations, part of a “valve” of some sort. Just kind of slid off the radar around 1977 or so locally.

  25. Definitely a tank from some sort of satellite; reports say that there were a series of “booms” heard before it fell, which is consistent with debris reentry.  It does look like the helium tanks found around the circumference of the Vostok/Voskhod instrument module but is a bit larger. The article says that it fell between the 15th and 20th of November, which made me think that perhaps it was related to some launches that took place. However, this falls within the time that the Shenzhou-8 was returning to Earth (it landed on Nov. 18). I wonder if this might be a tank from Shenzhou’s instrument module (could just ask the Chinese National Space Agency, but…)?

  26. efergus3 says:

    Gizmodo says that it’s just “SPAAAAAAAAACE TRAAAAAAAAASH!” (feel free to add reverb in your head).

  27. Ambiguity says:

    FU*K! I wondered where I misplaced that….

  28. Just_Ok says:

    Let us hope there isn’t a semi-castrated alien looking for that. But I think it’s more likely that it’s us from the end of time.

  29. scav says:

    Funny, I would have thought that space trash would be more likely to be found lying about in the northern hemisphere, since the southern hemisphere is mostly sea.

  30. rufustfyrfly says:

    A giant metal space lemon?

  31. MikeB says:

    That’s no moon…

  32. Dwen Dooley says:

    I, for one, welcome our unseen space-ball-discarding overlords.

  33. nanner says:


  34. sethian says:

    I had thought it was obvious that it is either Wheatley or the space personality core.

  35. Seems that the BoingBoing community has once again solved a great mystery, but wouldn’t it be easier if people put identification on these things?  I know that weight is important for space stuff, but I’m sure etching in a serial number can’t do any harm to space technologies.  Maybe I’m wrong.

  36. Matthew says:

    My Sputnik’s back, and you’re gonna be in trouble…

  37. lorq says:

    What does Dr. Pilman have to say about these things?

  38. noot says:

    Are we sure the Mythbusters weren’t filming in the region?

  39. AA says:

    I hope it doesn’t drop these as the last means for trajectory control (!)

  40. Listener43 says:

    Sorry about that folks. I’ll be by shortly to pick it up.

  41. Snig says:

    Anyone else think this is reminiscent of a Gilligan’s Island episode?

  42. Daric Jackson says:

    It’s clearly a Loknar.

  43. Broan says:

    On Christmas eve said NORAD
    A Soviet Sputnik hit Africa
    It’s falling fast 
    Peru too
    It keeps coming
    And now I’m mad about 
    Space junk
    I’m all burned out about 
    Space junk
    Oooh walk & talk about 
    Space junk
    It smashed my baby’s head
    And now my Sally’s dead

  44. SCAQTony says:

    Russian fuel tank from a satellite – Flickr image and explanation:

  45. Hans Speijer says:

    There’s a good reason why these show up in namibia on a somewhat frequent bases.

  46. bardfinn says:

    Mythbusters are at it again.

  47. CountZero says:

    I had one like that once, but the wheels fell off…

  48. Rks1157 says:

    Promo stunt for the new Ridley Scott movie?

  49. andyhavens says:

    That’s how Verizon is delivering Droids last-minute before the holidays this year.

  50. Mark Wahl says:

    “There seems to be no reason for these intergalactic upsets.  Only Dr. Hans Zarkov, formerly of NASA, has provided any explanation…”

  51. p96 says:

    Chuck Norris kicked that ball back in the 90s, it finally came down.

  52. the garage says:

    fast and bulbous also.. got me

  53. Holy shit it’s the Toclafane! :O

  54. Stephen Anderson says:

    Do be careful! Don’t lose any of that stuff. That’s concentrated evil. One drop of that could turn you all into hermit crabs.

  55. Snig says:

    It’s a zither.

  56. celsoric says:

    This one looks exactly the same..

  57. timothy805 says:

    there is a HUGE problem with anyone “claiming” this object… the next one may do damage and who ever claims this one will therefore be responsible for damages… 

  58. Master Nick says:

    Hell no throw it back!

  59. footron nortoof says:

    Looks like something from the CORONA project (early sixties). There might be a film canister inside if they try to open it although it may ruin it in the process.

  60. kjh says:

    It looks like it has nipples.  Just sayin’.

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