Friday 13th November, 2015: Impact Earth!

An artist's rendering of the man-made debris orbiting Earth
An artist’s rendering of the man-made debris orbiting Earth. Image credit: NASA

Yes, it’s true. Next month, Earth may suffer an impact – from a piece of space debris that may be a remnant of the Apollo space program!

Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California tracks space debris and the item in question (codenamed WT1190F) is expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere at around 6:15am UTC on Friday, November 13th.

Whether or not WT1190F will burn up in the atmosphere is actually unclear, but if it does survive reentry it is expected to splash down in the Indian Ocean around 65km (40 miles) south of Sri Lanka.

Experts have been able to verify that WT1190F is a man-made object due to its relatively small size (just one to two metres wide) and its low-density trajectory, which suggests that it is hollow.


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  • E

    The sky is falling!!! Take evasive action!

  • james pisano

    Much as I may understand and appreciate the role humanity plays in the universe, I am really discouraged with our evolutionary progress. We are the only species that creates trash and we do it at a prolific rate. There is an island of plastic floating in the Pacific the size of Texas and it’s all breaking down and showing up in the oceanic food chain. There is no RDA for plastic in our diet or any other species for that matter. There’s a bird sanctuary on or near Miidway that’s near the plastic “island” and birds are eating plastic and dying from starvation as they cannot fit real food in their stomachs. This is just one effect. It’s being eaten by whales and fish and it’s making it’s way into our diet.

    The fact that we’ve junked up space is equally offensive. If the story of earth were a movie and 4.5 billion years were compressed into 2 hours, Homo sapiens would have been on the scene for the last 30 seconds or less (one can do the math). We are a flash in the pan right now. The 100 years or so since the industrial revolution represents a second in the movie, a single frame. If we have done any damage to the earth in that short time, we can expect some really big problems coming our way in the near future. I wish we would stop looking for habitable planets and start treating this one better.