Strange space balls fell in Vietnam


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Such a great movie!


It’s compressed helium, or less often nitrogen. I doubt air.

The spherical tanks are the usual survivors of atmospheric reentry. The rest of the structure gets burnt off by the heating, but the tanks are aerodynamical enough to not heat that much; the adjanced structures (the tube on one side and the mount stub on the other one) usually melt off close to the sphere.

Many such cases out there.


Headline of the Year contest won in record time…


Before I saw the pictures I thought they might be blue ice. When I was a kid there was a story on the evening news about a block of an unidentified substance that was discovered in someone’s yard. It seems like it was around the time of Close Encounters so lots of people were speculating that it could be alien in origin. Some folks even tasted it.

I can’t imagine their horror when it turned out to be waste from an airplane toilet.


Blue ice is yellow snow.

…that said, it probably tastes better than blue cheese.


Yeah, I thought they might be rocket motor casings until I looked at Pesco’s 2nd pic. Just some kind of compressed gas tanks.

Looks like they slammed down pretty hard, though!


MY first thought was… star jelly.


Wouldn’t a sphere be pretty much the exact opposite of aerodynamic?


Yes and no. It does not have stellar aerodynamic properties, but it also does not entirely suck. I’d say it has the best compromise of properties for gentle enough braking to not burn up on reentry nor smash down way too hard.

Plus a lot of mechanical integrity to survive the forces the air exerts on it.


I thought it would be easier to link to an answer to your question (short answer: no) on NASA’s web site but then I got entranced by this animation of air flowing past a fixed cylindrical section at appropriate velocity to form a von Karman vortex sheet* and therefore an Aeolian tone.

I think I’ll just stare at this until my boss notices. Sorry.

* which has nothing to do with your question.


I remember when my strange spaceballs first fell.


If I were an alien race bent on destroying the earth I would definitely disguise my planet-buster bombs as Russian space debris. Just saying.



I see an Eddie in your space time continuum (who’s eddie? And why is there a couch floating over that cricket field?)





Giant balls of iron? Based on the youtube videos I’ve seen, I’d say almost definitely Russian.


Space balls? Oh shit, there goes the planet.


I guess Putin’s horse rides will be a lot easier now?