Workers at a waste water treatment plant in New Jersey were going about their workday Wednesday when a chunk of metal fell from the sky, hit a railing and a tank, and landed a few feet from where they were working, and the men suspect it’s some form of space junk.
Foreman Steve Bronowich told CBS New York that two of his fellow workers at the Seacaucus Treatment Works in Seacaucus, New Jersey, could have been killed by the falling piece of space junk.
“It bounced off one [piece of industrial equipment] and hit another one. It shook the guys up a little bit because, quite frankly, if it would’ve hit them, it would’ve killed them.”
Plant worker Vic Suppa said that the suspected piece of New Jersey space junk made a loud noise as it was falling.
“It was pretty loud. It was a pretty loud bang and we looked up and something was flipping in the air.”
According to NBC New York, the guys were afraid to touch the object at first, but curiosity got the better of them and they examined it. What they found was a tile-shaped chunk of ceramic, metal, and rubber about five inches square. At first, according to the foreman, they thought it might have come from the space shuttle.
“We went on the website and we looked up space shuttle tiles, and you could see that picture there, it basically matches up with that. What they show online for a space shuttle tile, it’s a little thicker than what we actually have here, but it certainly looks like it. I don’t know if it’s actually a tile, but I know it did come out of the sky.”
However, it’s unlikely that this piece of space junk came from the space shuttle; there hasn’t been a space shuttle in space since 2011, and NASA keeps meticulous records of space shuttle tiles, each one of which is engraved with a serial number.
As of this post, the origins of the mysterious piece of New Jersey Space Junk remain unclear. Hudson Regional Health Commissioner Carlos Rodriguez tested it for radioactivity — because that’s what you do with space junk, apparently — and said that it has no radioactive readings.
Although the idea seems far-fetched, at least one person on Earth has been known to have been hit by space junk. In 1997, Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was hit on the shoulder by a piece of a Delta II rocket. She said it felt like “an empty soda can,” according to Fox News.
Still, falling space debris does present its dangers. However, it’s just stuff that’s up there naturally, like asteroids, that we have to worry about. In February 2013, the shock wave from a meteor over Chelyabinsk, Russia, caused over 500 injuries, according to this Inquisitr report.
NASA, the FAA, and New Jersey health authorities will all want to have a look at the piece of New Jersey space junk in the coming days to try and determine exactly from what, and where, it came from.
[Image courtesy of: CBS New York]