The Skies are Falling

Well not really, but a few objects are falling from the skies. Two of them landed in Mongolia this week — one reportedly weighing 10kg, the other 2 tons — and speculation abounds.

One of the pieces of debris.
I really hope there’s no cow goat under there.

There is a lot of space junk. Like, a lot. So much that it’s becoming somewhat of an issue – the more junk there is floating around in orbit, the more chance there is of hitting something important like a satellite or spacecraft.

Where did all this junk come from? Lost tools, debris from jettisoned components and spent rocket stages, dust and other particulate debris, etc. Some pieces are bigger than others, but most are in the “particulate” range. Great measures are taken to reduce their risk of, say, breaking a window by positioning the space shuttles in strategic ways as they achieve orbit and meet up with the space station.

But sometimes the larger objects fall down. Orbits decay over time because the object loses energy as it flies around the Earth. (Satellites have to be repositioned occasionally to mitigate this.) Objects that can’t be fixed, because junk doesn’t usually have its own guidance system, sometimes just fall.

Why am I saying all of this about random junk? Because at least one alien UFO proponent is calling these pictures “leaked” UFO* shots and describing the object above as “disk-shaped” (look at it — is it disk-shaped?). They carefully avoid the word “alien” in favour of the “I’m just asking questions” approach, but the associated video has appeared on several pro-alien UFO websites (and check out the tags: alien conspiracy, Illuminati, and NWO…and for some reason Obama and 2012, among other things). The forum posts also feature the typical assumptions of behaviour — “If it were really a crashed Chinese spacecraft, why haven’t they said so?” with the implication that is it not a Chinese spacecraft, and therefore…

It’s possible that these objects are not from space at all, but from ground (or sea) rocket tests. Rockets can travel a great distance and are notorious for blowing up and/or flying off course, sometimes with pretty results. The picture above does look very much like a spent rocket stage or capsule might look after crashing on solid ground from a great distance, compressing in on itself. Again no reason to assume any alien UFO activity and no reason to assume that these photos were “leaked” (implying a poorly-attempted cover-up — as usual). But still — “Why are there so many crashed rockets lately, are They planning something?”

Confirmation bias, pattern assumption, and failure to consider all possibilities — these are the trappings that many people fall into with objects like this. While this is exciting, and it is true that the objects’ origins are currently unknown, there is no reason to assume/imply that they are from aliens or alien spacecraft. We have enough non-conspiratorial space junk, spacecraft, and aircraft (including rockets) of our own to explain these objects. Not all of them are well-known, not all of them are tracked, and sometimes they fall.

There’s also the possibility that this is a hoax of some kind. Hoaxes can and do happen.

So, alien UFO secret nefarious government plan? Or humans make machines, some of those machines are in the sky, and sometimes they fall down? The latter is the most likely explanation for these objects (barring a hoax). Pictures are not solid proof. But no solid proof means no solid proof, not proof of aliens.

*Aside: They were found crashed to the ground, so they aren’t even UFOs, let alone alien UFOs. They are crashed debris. UCOs – Unidentified Crashed Objects? Patent pending.

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  • Kim Hebert

    Kim Hébert is an occupational therapist. She is interested in the promotion of science and reason, particularly regarding therapeutic health interventions. She blogs occasionally about occupational therapy and other health topics at Science-Based Therapy. Her hobbies are art and astronomy. **All views expressed by Kim are her personal views alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers, associations, or other affiliations. All information is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for consultation with a licensed and accredited health professional.