Outer space debris is a thing. Though the most popular things we might see falling from the sky are meteorites, there are other pieces of strange space junk that might land in your backyard—if you’re lucky enough. Discover some of the weirdest interstellar intruders that have fallen from outer space and the story behind them.
BORN UNDER A LUCKY STAR
A Chevy Malibu was parked in New York when a streak coming directly from the sky back in 1992 suddenly smashed it. The bad news: the car was hit. The good news: the owner resold it for 25 times its original value after what happened—he was definitely born under a lucky star!
ROCK IT OUT
On a regular day in Colorado, a hiker stumbled upon a weird spherical object that was super warm at first touch. After reporting it to NASA, it turned out to be a Zenit-3 rocket that Russia launched in 2011.
Even though scientists couldn’t really explain how or why, three metal spheres crashed into northern Vietnam in 2015. Some of their theories said they were either rocket air tanks that could have fallen from a burning satellite in the atmosphere or debris from a failed rocket launch.
HER HIPS DON’T LIE
When an orange-shaped meteorite smashed her roof in 1954, 31-year-old Ann Hodges was comfortably sleeping on her couch. The meteorite hit her on the hip, and the whole incident won it the Hodges Meteorite nickname.
FIREBALLING IN THE DEEP
When a group of people in British Columbia started smelling sulfur from the Tagish Lake area, it was discovered that a large fireball had fell from the sky. Scientists found it had a resemblance with the sun (except for the gaseous compounds), but were unable to tell where it actually came from.
Meteorites come in all shapes and sizes. In 2009, a 14-year-old boy in Germany witnessed a pea-sized rock that appeared after a strong flash of light. Though microscopic in size, this meteorite managed to create a foot-wide crater and leave a small scar on the kid’s hand.
When the power generator of a Soviet satellite failed in 1978, radioactive material rained down over northern Canada as a result. The Operation Morning Light campaign intended to clean it up, but they could only recover 0.1% of it.
FALL DOWN LIKE A DIAMOND
From a pea-sized meteorite we move on to one of the largest ones in history: the Allende meteorite. In 1969, it crashed into Mexico and it contained tiny diamonds that came directly from outer space—what a way to bling bling.
To continue our talk about meteorite first-timers, we continue on with Almahata Sitta, the Arabic name given to the first asteroid to have ever been tracked before hitting Earth. The rock was named after the railroad station near where the impact took place.
OFF THE TRAIL
Part of the Russian Salyut-7 space station, glowing trails were spotted in the air, caused by metal fragments falling from the sky. These turned out to be one of the largest human-made objects to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.