A small payload of mysterious space junk is hurtling toward Earth, and it’ll be arriving on the most apropos of days: Friday the 13th (of November). What is the junk composed of? That’s not entirely known, but it does have a name: WT1190F, which, of course, looks like everyone’s favorite text exclamation. That’s purely coincidental, according to the researchers, as is its arrival date.
The space junk has only recently been discovered, and we know at this point that it will have a watery grave, as researchers say it is primed for landing in the Indian Ocean. That landing will happen on November 13. The space junk has had quite the road (space?) trip, though, as before entering our atmosphere, it first circled past the moon and sailed about unloved and unwanted.
WT1190F was spotted early this month by the Catalina Sky Survey, and researchers have been keeping an eye on it since. The junk is said to be small at only a meter or two in size, and to have a “highly elliptical orbit”. It will mostly burn up in the atmosphere, and will ultimately fall just south of Sri Lanka. The trajectory hints that the object, whatever it is, may be hollow and is likely artificial.
Putting it nearly poetically, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said the junk is perhaps “a lost piece of space history that’s come back to haunt us,” according to Scientific American. It could be a piece of an old rocket, something from an Apollo mission, or any other number of man-made materials. It will land at 6:20 UTC.
SOURCE: Scientific American