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NASA To Investigate Mysterious 'Space Ball'

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the that's-gonna-leave-a-mark dept.

NASA 192

redletterdave writes "In mid-November, a hollow space ball fell from the sky and crashed into the earth in Namibia, the African nation situated above South Africa and west of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Authorities recovered the sphere in a grassy village north of Windhoek, the country's capital. The hollow ball, which appears to be made of 'two halves welded together,' has a rough surface, a 14-inch diameter and measures 43 inches around. The strange globe created a crater 13 inches deep and almost 12.5 feet wide, but was found almost 60 feet from the landing spot. Paul Ludik, the police forensics director investigating the case, says the dense ball weighs 13 pounds and is made of a 'metal alloy known to man.' NASA and the European Space Agency will both help investigate the strange occurrence."

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SPACEBALLS? (5, Funny)

depaya (2017934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487034)

SPACEBALLS?

Re:SPACEBALLS? (4, Funny)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487040)

Oh, shit. There goes the planet.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (4, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487302)

My first thought was exactly the same as the previous two posts. Yet it's sad that the author could assume we all knew what a space ball was, but had to provide directions to help us locate a country [wikipedia.org] that is larger than Texas. If only Mel Brooks had been a geography teacher.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (5, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487310)

Actually, it would have been even better if it had been a Coke bottle [wikipedia.org] from space that fell in Botswana (which borders Namibia). But I doubt many people would have gotten the reference.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (3, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487318)

The Gods must be crazy ?

Re:SPACEBALLS? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487484)

Actually, I wanted to post "It's New New Coke!"

Re:SPACEBALLS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487812)

You forgot this coke bottle coke bottle [wikipedia.org] from space.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487732)

I am utterly confused. Why would anyone need it explained to them what a space ball is? In this context a "space ball" is a ball from space. There is no connection between this story and Mel Brooks, except that Mel Brooks made a movie named SpaceBalls and this story is about a ball that fell from space.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487744)

I bet you're a lot of fun at parties. Chicks just dig a curmudgeon.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487764)

Actually they like my immense wealth. Even your momma.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38488050)

Yet it's sad that the author could assume we all knew what a space ball was, but had to provide directions to help us locate a country [wikipedia.org] that is larger than Texas. If only Mel Brooks had been a geography teacher.

No need to mention the Morons From Outer Space, then.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487562)

Damn, I wish I'd said that first!

Re:SPACEBALLS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487048)

Nah - it's the Andromeda Strain.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487084)

They've come for our AIR!

Re:SPACEBALLS? (2)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487230)

They can never get through our air shield. I used the same combination on my luggage.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (0)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487272)

INVADING NARNIA?

If it landed inside Italy ... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487300)

... it would end up in the pasta sauce, with tomato puree

The Truman Show (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487350)

I came here wondering why there were no references to the falling spotlight in The Truman Show. The fact that every such reference has been removed tells me everything I need to know.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (5, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487538)

Why is NASA gonna look at the thing when somebody on the yahoo forums pointed out what it was and even provided a link? Sorry i don't have the link but, and excuse me if i don't get the make and model right as it was over a week ago, it was a hydrazine 104 liter tank, commonly used on some sats. anyway the guy provided a link and it looked pretty much dead on for what they found complete with the points on the end where the hoses go and everything.

Maybe NASA just doesn't have anything to do ATM with the end of the shuttle and the Russian rockets grounded?

Re:SPACEBALLS? (4, Funny)

VIPERsssss (907375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487656)

To be fair, I don't want anything to do with ATM either.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487854)

it was a hydrazine 104 liter tank, commonly used on some sats

That's what they want you to think.

Personally, I think it's a fuel tank from a rocket powered sleigh.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (2)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38488116)

People used to point at the moon and say that it was made of cheese. NASA still sent Apollo moon missions anyway.

Re:SPACEBALLS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38488120)

Maybe NASA know it's a hydrazine tank, but don't know which satellite it came from, and would like to figure it out in case it's important or there's other more dangerous bits of the satellite laying around Africa?

Re:SPACEBALLS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487804)

Comb the desert! [photobucket.com]

Already solved (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487046)

The Great Space Ball Mystery Has Been Solved [yahoo.com]

"For anyone wondering what it actually is, it's likely a 39-litre hydrazine bladder tank (based on its apparent size; there are also much larger hydrazine tanks)," he wrote. "They're used on unmanned rockets for satellite launches, which would explain why they're falling down in such a specific geographic footprint."

Re:Already solved (4, Funny)

acidradio (659704) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487096)

Thanks for taking the fun out of this one. We could have all speculated about all kinds of random things that it "may" have been. You ruined my Christmas.

Re:Already solved (5, Funny)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487156)

Thanks for taking the fun out of this one. We could have all speculated about all kinds of random things that it "may" have been. You ruined my Christmas.

Don't panic!
Even though the mystery is "solved". We still can speculate. If we assume the official explaination and all evidence that supports it is a lie, then this could be anything: aliens, the CIA, time travelers, Steve Jobs' cybernetic brain, etc ...

Once again conpiracy theories save Chirstmas.

Re:Already solved (2)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487378)

Don't Panic and always have a towel :)

Re:Already solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38488028)

Don't Panic and always have a towel :)

Made of tin foil

Re:Already solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487440)

Everyone knows Steve Jobs' brain is a fibrous nanotech sponge and would NOT be encased in something that could dirty or scratch so easily, or isn't made of white plastic.

if it's anything it's a prototype pokeball and when it landed it accidentally captured a tiger. They're in for some fun when they open that thing up.

Re:Already solved (4, Funny)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487602)

Either that, or the aliens have been reading xkcd [xkcd.com]

Re:Already solved (1)

VIPERsssss (907375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487662)

John Titor ate my balls?

Re:Already solved (3, Funny)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487298)

Pffft... "swamp gas", "weather balloon", " 39-litre hydrazine bladder tank" it's all the same story.

It's all a big conspiracy, man. Open your eyes! Stop drinking the kool-aid! The truth is out there!

Re:Already solved (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487664)

If it's 39 litres, the little green men (TM) have to be really little

--
BMO

Re:Already solved (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487492)

The mystery may have been "solved" but now I have an idea of how I want to be 'buried in space'!!!

Re:Already solved (4, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487098)

That's a pretty good guess. I would guess it was a pressure vessel of some kind from a Russian liquid ullage motor from an upper state, that have an unfortunate habit of exploding after a decade or so on-orbit.

      One "nipple" is the liquid fill/drain, the other is the pressurant fill/release.

        Brett

Re:Already solved (4, Informative)

twosat (1414337) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487710)

There was a spate of "space balls" discovered near the town of Ashburton in New Zealand in the early 1970's. A government report concluded the balls were part of the Russian rocket Kosmos 482 which failed when launching a Venus probe. The balls, which had Russian markings, were used to pressurise fuel tanks or as stabilisation jets, the report stated. A local farmer has one of the balls in his lounge, and there are also some on display at the Ashburton Aviation Museum. www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/the-kiwi-x-files/4542804/Government-report-on-space-balls-released www.newzealand.com/int/article/for-high-flyers-and-aviation-fans

Re:Already solved (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487856)

Hold on.. you're saying your name is Brett? Ye gods! This is news to me, ever since I forgot your name after reading the username part of your post. Good thing you repeated it again on the bottom of your post or I never would have known your name!!!

Re:Already solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487160)

I would have liked to have been able to guess "What's in the Wonder Ball."

Re:Already solved (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487242)

It's the left testicle of an alien. Or the right. Scientists haven't released their conclusion yet, but have not specifically ruled either option out.

Re:Already solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487424)

Or the upper one, or the lower one, or the only one, or one among one thousand. They are aliens after all.

Re:Already solved (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487902)

So, you're suggesting it was of Extra Testicle origin?

Re:Already solved (1)

moozey (2437812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487412)

Pfft, I believe nothing until 'likely' is replaced by 'definitely'!

Re:Already solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487682)

Pfft, I believe nothing until 'definitely' is replaced by 'definitely'!

There you go; believe away.

Re:Already solved (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487426)

How does one fit 39 liters into a sphere with a volume of 23.5 liters? NASA is clever, but not that clever. Google: (4/3*pi*(7^3)) in^3 in liters

Re:Already solved (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487430)

That's what "they" want you to think! Next thing you know, our brains are going to be on the menu in some alien version of McDonalds happy meal.

Re:Already solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487582)

"Hmm, your bladder is bigger and harder than mine..."

Re:Already solved (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487978)

I see your schwartz is as big as mine!

Re:Already solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487696)

http://cs.astrium.eads.net/sp/spacecraft-propulsion/propellant-tanks/104-litre-hydrazine-propellant-tank.html
http://fernlea.tripod.com/tank.html

Re:Already solved (1)

nblender (741424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487794)

I don't think so. it's a 39l bladder but net volume is 59l. I think if you do the math on that, you'll find a diameter of about 19 inches which is somewhat larger than the 14" quoted in the article summary. But I always sucked at math.

Re:Already solved (1)

aled (228417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38488018)

The Men In Black said.

Oh... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487056)

I know, a UFO shat itself.

Fuel tank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487070)

Big mystery.... not.

Mythbusters (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487088)

Mythbusters were shooting in Africa?

And the combination to the lock is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487090)

1 2 3 4 5

Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate (4, Funny)

BenBoy (615230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487104)

Caution: Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball [nbc.com] .

Salyut 7/Kosmos 1686 Helium Tank (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487106)

Or any other pressurized fuel/oxygen tank http://www.bimsociety.org/gallery/Salyut%207%20-%20Kosmos%201686%20Helium%20Tank/dirindex.html

Nibbler! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487112)

Nibbler has been worm-holed to our millennium!

...the African nation situated above South Africa (2)

clokwise (844691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487116)

I wonder, how fast would this space ball need to be going in order to dig all the way through Namibia and land in South Africa?

Re:...the African nation situated above South Afri (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487144)

Was it an African or European space ball?

COPV (5, Informative)

Donwulff (27374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487118)

It's a COPV, see here [nasa.gov] or page 11 here [space.com] . The wrapping has probably shielded it enough during the atmospheric re-entry and then ripped away, or it could be from lower altitude flight. In fact NASA and ESA have already studied this object, and most responsible news outlets [discovery.com] have explained it along with the newsreport. The only real question is which mission or ship it is from, but unfortunately that might never be found out.

Re:COPV (2)

Donwulff (27374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487674)

Quick Googling now that I had time turned up this [activeboard.com] . It's the rocket body of the Soyuz SL-4 on TMA-22 mission that took US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to ISS on 16th November. Predicted re-entry location was in the sea south of Africa, but the predicted location isn't necessarily exact, plus there's several stages that would each break up across longer range. In any case it's certainly a good match for the vague "Mid November" reported.

Thanks for shearing (4, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487128)

14-inch diameter and measures 43

Thanks for sharing numbers that almost defy pi.

Re:Thanks for shearing (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487162)

It almost conforms to our earth bound geometry! I expect the discrepancy is due to a rift in the space/time continuum.

Re:Thanks for shearing (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487254)

Well - when I read that "authorities" had recovered the sphere, I was wondering what the definition of "authorities" might be. A couple drunken redneck sheriff's deputies can be called "authority", or in Nowheremibia, a tribal witch doctor would be the "authority".

I think it safe to assume that whichever "authority" was referred to doesn't have advanced math education, or precise measurement equipment, or the training to use said precision measuring devices. Let's be grateful that they apparently used some kind of measuring device, rather than holding their hands apart to describe the size.

Re:Thanks for shearing (2)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487544)

Now now, the authorities in Namibia are likely to be Nazi fugitives. And thus probably rocket scientists.

Galaxy On Line® is teh sux..... (-1, Troll)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487142)

Does this mean we've been teabagged by aliens?

*rolls up sleeves*
Just wait until I log in.
I'll pwn this little 13 year old galactic assclown so bad, he will be afraid to leave his mom's solar system for eons....

*mutters* Mel Brooks would be rollin' in his grave...in laughter.

Re:Galaxy On Line is teh sux..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487208)

Mel Brooks would be rollin' in his grave... if he was actually dead

Re:Galaxy On Line® is teh sux..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487262)

It means that you probably have a teabagger up your ass right now, and there's nothing you can do about it, until the baby teabagger rips it's way out of your chest.

It's so obvious what this is... (4, Funny)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487148)

It's so obvious what this is, Wheatley [youtube.com] fell down from space...

It's obvious (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487164)

Considering the timing, it's obviously just a giant christmas ball which fell from a geostationary christmas tree put there by our future intergalactic cruisading space-christian overlords. It is almost 2012 afterall.

Crash Site (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487166)

Was a Dark Helmet found anywhere near the space ball?

Phantasm (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487170)

don't polish it or it'll get ya.

LoB

Call CERN. We found the Higgs Boson . . . (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487174)

Created in the LEGO experiment at CERN in Denmark, it traveled through the political hole neutrino tunnel dug by the Italian education minister. It popped out of the other end of the tunnel in Namibia an exclaimed, "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Los Alamos in Albuquerque!" Theoretical mathematically inclined experimentally minded Gedanken physicists quickly solved the observed event by slapping a few new dimensions that we can't observe onto the creaking load in Grandma 's basket of string theories model.

Schrödinger's cat may or may not have been involved, and law enforcement sources will only state that they are in the state of considering the wacky cat as a "feline of interest" at the moment, as observed from their event horizon.

Meanwhile, an enraged God crawled out of the sea at Tokyo and is smashing the paper skyscrapers in the city, whilst searching for His particle. It seems that He wants it back. Japanese defense forces are deploying ludicrously tiny plastic models with firecrackers attached to their canons, in an effort to force God to get His hairy ass out of their city.

A military spokesmen stated that they were trying to taunt God into making a mistake, but weren't sure yet what that mistake could be.

Re:Call CERN. We found the Higgs Boson . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487758)

You must be channeling Heinlein.

Re:Call CERN. We found the Higgs Boson . . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487762)

nigga u high? xD

Re:Call CERN. We found the Higgs Boson . . . (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38488132)

Los Alamos in Albuquerque

Los Alamos is in Los Alamos (go figure, right?). Sandia National Lab is in Albuquerque (50 to 75mi south of Los Alamos, rough guess...)

Do not taunt Mysterious Space Ball (5, Funny)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487178)

Mysterious Space Ball fell to earth in Namibia, presumably from outer space.

Authorities recovered the Mysterious Space Ball in a grassy village north of Windhoek, the country's capital.

Mysterious Space Ball, which appears to be made of 'two halves welded together,' has a rough surface, a 14-inch diameter and measures 43 inches around.

Mysterious Space Ball created a crater 13 inches deep and almost 12.5 feet wide, but was found almost 60 feet from the landing spot.

Mysterious Space Ball weighs 13 pounds and is made of a 'metal alloy known to man.'

NASA and the European Space Agency will both help investigate Mysterious Space Ball.

Do not taunt Mysterious Space Ball.

Re:Do not taunt Mysterious Space Ball (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487386)

The one who goes and checks it out, really has some balls :)

Re:Do not taunt Mysterious Space Ball (0)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487542)

Mysterious Space Ball fell to earth in Namibia, presumably from outer space.

I could have sworn Namibia was presumably from Africa.

Mythbusters.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487180)

They launched that ball out of the wood cannon in the first season. He never found it.

Get off my lawn (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487280)

If I have said it once I have said it a million times, those damn alpha-centurion kids need to keep their damn glorpball off our lawn!

With apologies to ACDC: (2)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487306)

"But NASA's got the spaciest balls of them all!"

The Space Ball (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487340)

NASA's just upset because they never get invited.

I decided my taxes won't pay for this (0)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487500)

Oh, wait.

It's a Gamelon planet bomb! (1)

0m3gaMan (745008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487512)

We're screwed.

Wait (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487524)

I was just about to try to launch something that looks just like this through my homemade time machine. Guess I won't bother now.

it is made of a 'metal alloy known to man.' (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487528)

If he knows what alloy it is, and it's a familiar one, what alloy is it?

Re:it is made of a 'metal alloy known to man.' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487994)

Secret spaceball alloy. Like the kind used in flying cars.

That is so common, that its really not news (2)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487536)

Its actually just sensationalism, as usual.
Look here [aero.org] at types and descriptions of reentered objects.
How many 'spheres' do you count?

Some fuckn dum intern that workd fro NASA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487568)

Yep another stupid college intern that works for nothing sent a satellite into space to test whether the Sun actually exists. Evidently the satellite hit the sun and fell back to earth.

  Eureka a monumental discovery by another stupid ambitious moron that went to a no nothing college or even worse Harvard.

Good news everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487598)

Two halves welded together? Oh no, the Mighty V-GINY has landed!

cover up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487646)

Nice to know NASA will investigate. Since it is made of "an alloy known to man" they could at least tell us what the alloy is. I am sure they know exactly what it is and where it is from but that information will not be shared with the public either undoubtedly

fortune (1)

tidepool (137349) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487694)

Anyone want to guess what the fortune inside says?

I recognize the heavy metal spaceball (1)

CmdTako (2503216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487700)

I can't believe they let is crash into the earth! It's like you know your perspective's fucked so you just gotta let your hands work the controls as if you're straight.

Above? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487770)

"Namibia, the African nation situated above South Africa "

I think you mean "to the north of South Africa." Otherwise, the real story here is how Namibia came to be floating over South Africa.

Probably ... (0)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487792)

... a hydraulic accumulator off an airplane.

The question is: Which airline has a lousy enough maintenance record not to miss it?

I once worked where they are made (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38487846)

Its a fuel tank, made of paper thin titanium, usually over wrapped in Kevlar. It has an expanding metal diaphragm in the center that separates the fuel from the pressurizing gas. This design eliminates the need for a mechanical fuel pump, which would be another potential point of failure in space.

Pi (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487950)

The real reason NASA is investigating is to determine what manner of space-time warpage the device uses to change the local value of pi.

Baseball? (1)

Essequemodeia (1030028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38488000)

Strike one. Groan.
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