Earlier this year, Feb 2012, an unidentified metal sphere has plunged from the sky on unsuspecting villagers in northern Brazil, causing an uproar. According to eyewitnesses, the UFO weighs about 50 kilograms and measures roughly one meter in diameter.
The sphere fell on Wednesday in a village of Riacho dos Poços in Brazilian Maranhão state. No casualties were reported apart from an unfortunate cashew tree that was severed by the object as it plunged to the ground, according to MR Notícias, a Mata Roma news site.
Valdir José Mendes, 46, told police the sphere landed several meters from his house leaving a one-meter-deep hole in the yard.
"I heard the noise and I went out to see what caused it. I thought it was a plane that had fallen, or an earthquake," he said.
The noise was such that Mendes was too scared to go outside. However, curiosity got the better of him and he headed outside to find the cashew tree’s trunk snapped in half by a mysterious metal sphere lying in a hole nearby.
Some 20 villagers joined Mendes to help him extract the object from the ground and examine it. Mendes says the sphere is hollow and if shaken some sort of liquid can be felt swishing inside. Locals quickly spread the news, as they reached the town of Mata Roma over 2,000 people flocked to see the “UFO”.
"It was a huge uproar here. Some feared it was the beginning of the 2012 end of the world, others said it was ‘alien’, but I think it is a piece of satellite," said Max Garreto Mauro, 25, a resident of Mata Roma.
Peter Costa, the meteorologist at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), agrees with Garetto, saying the object would probably be part of a satellite. "I'm sure this is not a weather balloon or part of it," he said as quoted by O Imparcia.
Military police confiscated the sphere and took it to the barracks in the nearby Mata Roma. They have not specified what the UFO’s possible future will be. In a statement the Air Force Command said it "does not have specialized structures to perform scientific research on this type of aerial phenomena, which prevents the institution to submit an opinion on these events."
In December 2011, a similar incident happened in Namibia, where a metal "Teletubby head" weighing 5.9 kilograms and measuring 35 centimeters in diameter hit the ground in the village of Omanatunga. Some Russian specialists believe the “head” was part of the third stage of the Soyuz-U rocket, launched on October 30.
Space debris stories made the headlines throughout 2011. In January, media chased the infamous Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt across five oceans to keep up with Russia’s space agency, constantly changing the possible impact location.
Earlier in October, the German Roentgen satellite split into 30 chunks, one of which weighed 400 kilograms, but those globs eventually made their way in to the Indian Ocean.
In September 2011, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite made headlines when it threatened to fall right onto Britain but eventually collapsed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.
Metal ‘Teletubby head’ falls near Namibian village Published: 23 December, 2011
Namibia, Desert Region : A handout photo provided by the National Forensic Science Institute shows a giant metallic ball of 1,1 metre in diameter weighing some 6 kilograms that fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting baffled authorities to contact NASA and the European space agency (ESA) on December 21, 2011. AFP Photo / National Forensic Science Institute)
Mystery surrounds a 13-pound unidentified flying object which fell from the skies in northern Namibia. Despite efforts by researchers to identify its composition and origins, nobody has been able to establish where the metal sphere came from.
The ball, weighing 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) and measuring 14 inches (35 centimeters) in diameter hit the ground next to the Namibian village of Omanatunga in the Omunsati region in the north of the country.
Locals reported hearing a series of loud explosions before the sphere was found by a farmer sometime between November 15 and November 20. The metal ball was found some 60 feet (18.3 meters) away from a small crater it is assumed to have created when it fell.
Ever since, local officials and researchers have been kept busy investigating the origins and make-up of the mysterious ball. Local police chief Vilho Hifindaka was quick to calm everyone down by saying the object did not pose any danger, as it was hollow inside.
The director of the Namibian National Forensic Science Institute, Paul Vidik, said the two sides of the ball appear to be welded together and that the sphere contains a metal alloy used in spaceships. He rejected the idea that it could be an extraterrestrial object and said such findings are commonplace throughout the southern hemisphere – in South America, Africa and Australia.
Russian specialist Igor Lisov, a columnist for the magazine Novosti Kosmonavtiki (Astronomy News), believes the sphere is part of the third stage of the Russian “Soyuz-U” rocket that carried the transport ship “Progress M-13M” on October 30.
Lisov said the trajectory of the third stage’s fall indicated it was to hit the ground in Namibia on November 1. However he denied that the object could be part of the stranded Phobos-Grunt probe as it has not yet entered Earth’s atmosphere and is not expected to fall to Earth until late January 2012.
The sphere incident isn’t the first space debris story to hit the news this year. In September, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite made headlines when it threatened to fall right onto Britain but eventually collapsed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.
In October, the German Roentgen satellite split up into 30 chunks, one of which weighed 880 pounds (400 kilograms), but those globs eventually made their way down to the Indian Ocean.