Re: Mir is falling on my head?

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 06:23:50 -0500

carl feynman wrote:
> At 03:23 PM 11/15/97 -0800, you wrote:
> >
> >
> >Has anyone heard anything about a piece of Mir landing near Vancouver, BC,
> >Canada? Last night,(around 9pm PST) I say the most amazing light show
> >which involved two bright streams of material flying very low overhead.
> >One very bright orange piece appeared to hit ground, as it was followed
> >by low, thundering noises. The rumour here is that it was a spent Russian
> >fuel cell. Could something like this actually hit the earth? If so, why
> >are they dropping these things on my head? ;)
> When you say 'appeared to hit ground', did you actually see it hit, or did
> it go behind a hill?
> I haven't heard anything about this event, but from your description, what
> you saw was an object weighing at least tens of kilograms falling from
> space. Such objects are usually satellites or other space junk, but
> occaisionally natural meteorites. It was unlikely to be a piece of Mir,
> since Mir is in a high orbit and is fairly disciplined about sending its
> junk back to Earth on spacecraft, rather than simply throwing it away.
> Most satellites are of sufficiently flimsy construction that they burn up
> before hitting the ground. Re-entry would burn off at least an inch or two
> of solid steel, and few spacecraft parts are so hefty. When Skylab
> re-entered, the only part that survived was a radiation-proof safe they
> kept their film in. In particular, fuel cells are not dense enough to
> survive, AFAIK. On the other hand, it probably was a Soviet or Russian
> object. They sent up a lot more stuff than the rest of the world put
> together, and they weren't as fastidious as other countries about not
> letting things fall out of orbit.
> They're dropping things on your head because the odds of actually hitting
> anyone are pretty slim, and even if they hit someone, the chance of being
> held legally responsible is small, and even then, the cost of losing a
> wrongful death suit are far less than the cost of launching the payload in
> the first place.

I don't know who "you" is, but according to the Russians and NORAD, it
was a reentering Proton booster, reentering as previously predicted. The
main body landed out to sea, while denser material, like the engines,
had slightly longer trajectories that took them into eastern Washington
State. Actual impacts have not been reported, but that is to be expected
given the sparseness of that part of the state. Art Bell and other
ignorant sensationalist ufo hounds are making all sorts fo outlandish
claims that do nothing but make them look like fools to anyone who has
seen the video footage shown on KING channel 5 in Seattle.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?