A mysterious space object is heading our direction and will hit Earth off the coast of Sri Lanka on November 13, the National Space Agency said through a press release Monday. Scientists have no clear idea what it is, other than that it is likely artificial in origin, and have dubbed the object WT1190F.
According to NASA, the object was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey, an observation lab at the University of Tucson.
“It’s coming in fast and will get very hot,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told reporters.
The alleged piece of space debris initially puzzled observers. But astronomers then went back through the lab’s past images from telescopes and noticed that it had been present for quite a while.
From then on they calculated the orbit of the object, which has been circling the Earth at a further distance than the Moon, and deduced that the piece of cosmic refuse was likely placed there by intelligent beings.
Astrophysicists believe that the object could be a memento of the Apollo missions that took US astronauts to the moon. Scientists said: “This is the first instance of a space object is being tracked as it travels towards to Earth.”
“It’s probably a lost piece of space history that’s come back to haunt us – it’s possible it will survive to impact the ocean,” said McDowell of its potential disintegration as it enters earth’s atmosphere.
“There are also dozens of others floating uncontrollably in outer space,” McDowell says. “These will likely outlast most objects on Earth, and would possibly be the first harbinger of our civilization to be witnessed by any other species in our universe,” he added.