Space Mystery Object WT1190F Hits Earth Like An Asteroid — Slooh’s WTF UFO Video Shows The Explosion

A space mystery object dubbed the WTF UFO was sighted on video hitting Earth on Friday the 13th like an Asteroid. Despite the name of WT1190F, NASA and other space agencies were pretty sure it was just some non-dangerous space debris which burned up in Earth’s atmosphere. But in the past, there have been concerns that space junk may have been a Russian space weapon.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, another UFO sighting over California had many speculating that it was part of the Taurid meteor shower caused by Comet Encke, but then the U.S. Navy confirmed what it really was.

What made this particular space mystery object so interesting is that it orbited Earth every three weeks in a non-circular orbit for quite a while. Part of the reason everyone was excited was because WT1190F entered the atmosphere similar to an asteroid impact on Earth, which gave some interesting data.

“Friday the 13th is going to be a lucky one for some scientists hoping to study the effects of our atmosphere on space junk,” explained a Slooh space camera representative. “Space junk falls from the sky pretty frequently, but this piece offers scientists a unique opportunity to observe and understand how the atmosphere interacts with them.”

While some conspiracy theorists tried to link it to UFO sightings and alien invasions, in the past NASA has noted there are many other instances of space junk like WT1190F.

“There are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth. They travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. There are 500,000 pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger. There are many millions of pieces of debris that are so small they can’t be tracked.”

Researchers were also pretty certain about the identity of the space mystery object before it hit the Earth. The European Space Agency’s NEO Coordination Centre (NEOCC) thought the near Earth object (NEO) was likely a discarded rocket body.

“NEO experts have used observational data to estimate the object’s density, which turns out to be much less than that of the solid rocky material that comprises many asteroids,” explained Detlef Koschny of the ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme office. “This density is in fact compatible with the object being a hollow shell, such as the spent upper stage of a rocket body or part of a stage.”

Slooh members used Slooh’s robotic telescopes to determine that the mysterious space object would hit the Earth over the Indian ocean on Friday the 13th. The WTF UFO video shows WT1190F burning up in Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 25,000 miles per hour. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, provided commentary on Twitter as it hit.

WT1190F will certainly not be the last space mystery object to raise public interest. Almost exactly a year ago, the world was abuzz over Object 2014-28E, which some thought was a secret Russian space weapon capable of destroying other satellites. Researchers said no one should jump to conclusions since any satellite with maneuvering capability can be a weapon, and even the United States has tested out such tech.

“When we did DART and XSS-11, other countries went into panic mode — you know, ‘The U.S. has space weapons,’” said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. “The first thing we did was assuage those concerns and say, ‘No, no. That’s not what it is. It’s just a maneuverable satellite.’ But any time you have dual-use technology, there are going to be concerns.”

[Image via ESA]