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Draplin Design Co., North America
March 14, 2008
Space Junk Little Sister
Posted at 10:04 AM

031408_space_junk.jpg

Well, you are never gonna believe this one.

So my little sister and her boyfriend Jacob are hammering back toward the city on I-5, just north of the city a week or so ago. Leah is driving. All is well in their little world. Out of the corner of Jacob’s eye he sees this white speck come racing in, and, an instant later their car is hit by something very hard.

They think they might’ve run something over, or were hit by another car. The impact is that violent. They pull over and notice a large hole in the quarter panel behind the driver’s side front wheel. They cautiously drive back out on to the freeway and take the first exit to further inspect the hole. They don’t notice anything too specific, aside from the gaping hole in the car.

The next day Leah gets on the ringer with her insurance company. She takes the car into a body shop and the guys there are freaking out after they extract this insane hunk of metal from the car. The car suffered some $3000 in damages from the possible interstellar attack.

“Little sister Leah, and her hunk of space junk.”

So then Leah called the local news to see if anyone else had reported anything odd falling from the sky, or, had been hit by anything. They quickly set up a an interview and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see my little sister on the tube talking up her peculiar incident. Pretty amazing. Leigh and I were out to eat and Leah called and said, “Turn on Fox News 12 now!” And we did, and we sat there and watched her interview with a handful of patrons.

So as these words go live on this half-ass blog, the piece of space junk is being examined by professors at Portland State University, just across the river from me. Stay tuned for their results, readers.

And fuck, I’m glad whatever hit them, hit them near the wheel. Glad everyone is okay and safe and sound, albeit shook up.

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A SMIDGE OF HUMOR, BELOW ALL THIS “WILD ASS BRUSHES WITH THE COSMOS” SHIT: Breakfast endorse Obama. Such a good logo. Go Obama!

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LITTLE_FIELD_NOTE_ICON.gif Poppytalk give Field Notes a little love. Thanks!

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LITTLE_FIELD_NOTE_ICON.gif And man, so do the good people over at Pencil Things. Heck yes. Much pride is felt on this Friday morning.


There Are 20 Comments

Maybe it ‘s a piece of the spy satellite the navy blew up a few weeks ago. If so,maybe Uncle Sam will help out with the car repair bill. Seriously strange story!
-Cort Moore

Posted by: Cort Moore on 03/14/08 at 12:35 PM

I think you should try to find out where this came from. It doesn’t look like a meteorite to me, too tabular, too much surface area for typical meteor speeds, not massive enough.

I would contact a university metallurgist to find out exactly what kind of metal and alloy it is. That might narrow down the nationality of the satellite.

Then see if you can get Wired.com to post something about it—a lot of aerospace industry nerds read that—and maybe one of them will recognize it as their titanium turbopump assembly from a satellite that blew up or something.

You could also contact US Space Command (no joke) and with the time and location of the impact maybe they can help you. They track thousands of pieces of space debris down to the size of a marble. They’d probably take you more seriously if your journalist called.

AFSPC Media Division at (719) 554-7509 or e-mail afspc.pam@peterson.af.mil
http://www.afspc.af.mil/

I don’t know if you realize this, but the topic of space debris is a huge one right now because a couple of months ago the Chinese intentionally shot up one of their own satellites as a show of muscle and created a bunch of space debris that pissed everyone else off. The US just did it, too, like last week, so who knows maybe this is part of that US spy satellite. if so, it’s worth money and you could easily get reimbursed:

“Whether the engagement [shoot down] succeeds or fails, the U.S. is prepared to offer assistance to governments to mitigate the consequences of any satellite debris impacts on their territory,” [US Ambassador Christina] Rocca told the Conference on Disarmament.” 2/15/2008

Look into this. It’s got big political implications because the Bush administration wanted to play with their anti-missile toys and now it’s actually threatening Americans and damaging their cars. That’s huge PR value right there.

Sounds kinda crazy, but this is pretty serious—not many satellite have made it to the ground, let alone caused damage, so this is actually historic.

Posted by: Random on 03/14/08 at 2:25 PM

Hi, just a comment, it’s either “koin 6”, or “fox 12”.

Posted by: bob dobs jr. on 03/14/08 at 2:34 PM

Omigosh. Thank goodness she’s okay! What a story!

Posted by: abberdab on 03/14/08 at 2:38 PM

There was a big difference between the China strike and the US one. The China satelite was much higher up and the debris field will continue to cause problems for deploying other satelites and any other space launches for years to come. The US satelite was already in a degrading orbit and should be clear in the next few weeks. It may be possible that this was from the US satelite.

Posted by: Chinpokomon on 03/14/08 at 3:11 PM

wow!

Posted by: derek d on 03/14/08 at 3:32 PM

The car! Lets see the car!

Posted by: Sloughmac on 03/14/08 at 4:29 PM

Well goddamnit, that is just awesome!!! Glad that everyone is ok, and here’s hoping they will be able to turn a buck out of it.

Posted by: DB on 03/14/08 at 6:59 PM

I’d bet it’s not space junk €” it’s some terrestrial object which got blown into the sky somehow. Analysis of the brown, clay-looking stuff on the surface of the metal ought to indicate one way or the other pretty conclusively whether it’s terrestrial.

Posted by: Wim L on 03/14/08 at 9:10 PM

As a former airman who blew up munitions that had remained in one piece past their shelf life, I can say that this looks very much like shrapnel from a general purpose bomb.

it’s dirty, it looks like metal, and it is twisted beyond recognition. there’s no scale in the photo, but going by the wood grain I’d say it’s at least 4 inches across. I don’t think that this is actually part of the bomb casing itself, but rather part of the guide fin assembly that is tacked on the tail end of the bomb to coax it to is destination.

If there is not a military installation within 5 miles, I would hit the library and see if there are any former bombing ranges in the area. the west coast had a few in the WWII era, and an undiscovered, unexploded bomb could definitely produce this projectile if it suddenly blew up.

Lost “ripened” bombs blow up spontaneously a lot, which is why the USAF began manually kabooming their old bombs a while ago. typically they are buried, or placed in an existing crater *without* their tail fin assemblies, which is why I think this could be a former dud that detonated.

Posted by: jeremiah on 03/14/08 at 10:35 PM

As a meteorite collector/dealer, I can say with certainty that this is not a meteorite. To be honest, though, it doesn’t look much like space debris either, as it doesn’t appear to have the smoothing you expect from the heat of reentry melting the surface, although that is difficult to tell from the picture. It is possible it came from some terrestrial source. There have been reports of people finding what that believe is space junk that turn out to be parts of woodchippers flung off from the next block or something wierd like that. Hard to say but NASA might be willing to see if they think it is space junk. See the colored sections at the bottom of the page here:
http://meteorites.wustl.edu/quotations/thud.htm

Posted by: JR Mole on 03/15/08 at 2:06 AM

Forget the metallurgist and the Space Command. I would start seriously thinking about:

1. Who, outside of Earthlings, reads your blog? Check your server logs for any unusual IP addresses or domain names. Anything like “sector”, “quadrant”, “alpha centauri”, that sort of thing.

2. What might you have said to upset them?

We don’t yet know how this Space Mafia works, but it could be a bullet under your pillow, is all I’m saying.

PS. It looks like My Little Pony, or like what My Little Pony would look like after hurtling through the atmosphere at great speed and then hitting a car. Is that a clue? A message?

Posted by: Jay Levitt on 03/15/08 at 6:36 AM

I second the motion of contacting the US Space Command. It would be very helpful to have the most exact time of the impact that you could remember as well as the exact location. If you can sketch the direction that object appeared to come from that would also help. They track objects in space that size or larger and may be able to calculate from the time and place what object hit you.

I was thinking about using http://www.heavens-above.com/ to do some “quick and dirty calculations” to see if USA-193 (the spy satellite) pieces would have been over your position. However, I-5 is a long highway and I don’t know the date and time. The Air Force could do a better job.

In any case, I am jealous. No matter what was the source of the space junk your sister has the coolest cocktail party tale ever! “Hail damage, smail damage. Heck, back in ought-eight, my Camry got $3,000 in body damage from a piece of a Russian Cosmos 1351 rocket third stage. It really freaked out the dude at the body shop too. I’m using that hunk of aluminum for a door stop.”

Posted by: David Syzdek on 03/15/08 at 9:20 AM

Wild….Damn martians.

Posted by: Huckleberry Hart on 03/15/08 at 10:11 AM

Wow. Speechless. The craziest blog post ever. I don’t even know what you are supposed to do with this information. It would be nice to have some answers I suppose. The satellite and exploded bomb theories both have some things to follow up on.

Glad everyone is safe.

Posted by: MC on 03/15/08 at 5:01 PM

the apparent lack of randomness displayed in the multiple equal diameter (bent) flat-planes would indicate that was a manufactured object.

Posted by: frank on 03/15/08 at 7:42 PM

Blimey, what a story… try explaining that one to the insurance company!

(“You could also contact US Space Command (no joke)” is the coolest phrase I’ve read in a comment for a long time)

Posted by: zoë jessica on 03/18/08 at 11:22 AM

HOLY WOW BATMAN. I’ve been wanting to see this alien spance chunk for some time now.. Turns out today was the day. Thats insane man…Good thing the force was with you Leah…Good thing (:

Posted by: Starner on 04/19/08 at 3:37 PM

That is pretty effin cool.

Posted by: Eff Uuh on 11/06/08 at 11:26 AM

That is pretty effin cool.

Posted by: Eff Uuh on 11/06/08 at 11:26 AM
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